'It feels so much the emotion, the feeling of the intensity and purity of club and rave in the early days, without resembling those gone moments' - Shed (2008)
Back in 2008 when those words rose out of dusty noise, it was referencing how the classic sound of techno was influencing a new wave of producers, the 'Berghain Generation'. At the time the sound was so fresh and unique, re-framing the classic techno signifiers of the original Belleville Three through the early millennial bug of minimal. But after a while, as all new ideas eventually do, it became stagnant through a wave of second rate copycats and bland rehashing of old ideas. The originals like Marcel Dettmann, Marcel Fengler and Ben Klock have never verged into mediocrity themselves, but the influx of stale, tepid atmospheric techno songs that have flooded record shops over the past few years have dulled the energy that this music had 6 years ago. However it's not all bad news for drone based, echo laded techno fans. A German producer by the name of Kobosil has been releasing some of the most mind bending, twisted sonics of recent memory that seems like as much of an update of the 'Berghain sound' as that was to the classic, Detroit sounds. As a harder, noiser strain (that seems to give a massive fucking middle finger to those most horrible of qualities like subtlety and dynamics) has become more fashionable in recent times, Kobosil's take on stripped back, flat techno is even more welcome. After having released his debut ep on the Ostgut Ton affiliated sister label Unterton, he starts 2014 off with the 10th release for Marcel Dettmann's boutique label MDR.
Kobosil songs have a very specific, almost robotic style groove to them and it's a testament to how far developed the new producer is that he already has such an individual sound. They seem to replicate the main room thump that classic Dettmann and Klock tunes had (think Subzero or Corebox) but with various quirks and twists that are like a knowing wink to the heads. Take the opening track Ein for example. The kick is laden with heavy reverb tails that would fill a cavernous room, but it seems to be hesitant, playing with the listeners expectation of where it should and shouldn't be. Kobosil was previously criticized for a lack of humour in his music (as if that's a necessary quality), but this song shows how he can play with the form and in a way satirize the deluge of echo laded, drone shit that has become the unwanted noumenon of contemporary techno. The second tune Asle is the hardest cut on here and sounds like it was taken straight from the mix of a peak time set. It has the same momentum and vigour as a techno DJ spinning to an energetic crowd at silly hours in the morning. At just over 4 minutes long it's much shorter than this kind of music tradionally is, but it manages to strip down and distill the essence of classic Osgut Ton tunes into it's pragmatic time limit. Like Ein, this is a tune made by someone who knows his history and wants to show it. This is postmodern techno. There's enough knowing signifiers on the release here for people in the know to recognize, but it still bangs hard enough that any of these tunes would kill a dancefloor. The next three tracks carry on in a similar vein, each one seeming like updated versions of the different forms that this style of music can take. The last cut (a beatless, downtempo number) leaves the EP off with a satisfying sense of closure after five tracks of mind fucking grooves. This release and his previous ones are some of the most complete and forward looking techno of recent memory that is an example of how this music should and could be done. If this is anything to go by, Kobosil is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable producers of the moment.