Mikkel Metal Victimizer

[Kompakt; 2006]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: minimal techno, ambient dub, experimental electronica, microhouse
Others: Gas, Pole, Jan Jelinek, Terre Thaemlitz

Victimizer is the debut full-length from Mikkel Metal, pseudonym for Danish musician Mikkel Meldgaard. After a string of 12-inch EPs released by the Copenhagen producer on the Kompakt label, Victimizer is Meldgaard's first proper long-player, and, if this record is any indication, the first in what will hopefully be a long line of releases from an impressive, innovative talent in the burgeoning contemporary techno scene.

The press kit for Victimizer (as they tend to do for the vast number of indie releases, obscure and otherwise) cautions the listener not to be so presumptuous as to attempt to pigeonhole this release by perfunctorily slapping a genre label on it. In the case of Victimizer, it must be said that the distributor is correct in this assessment, however cliché it may be. Pleasantly, the album does tend to elude categorization, much to the inevitable chagrin of the purists out there. Though it consists mainly of blunted techno rhythms bearing a somewhat subtle dub influence, Victimizer has much to offer the casual listener and is remarkable in how well it lends itself to repeated listens. Mikkel Metal have assembled, from start to finish, a taut, brilliantly structured album that never flags in its originality and consistency of form.

Redolent of the melancholic and subterranean electronic dub textures of Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project, Mikkel Metal craft a deeply atmospheric brand of ambient techno that, though it is superficially aligned with minimal house, is surprisingly lush and dense. Despite the processed grooves, synthesized vocoder vocals, and generally synthetic nature of the instruments with which the album was composed, Victimizer smolders with an organic warmth that distances itself from the more clinical and austere European glitch-house artists such as Oval and Autechre. Mikkel Metal evoke images of a once-sterile environment now overgrown with decay, teeming with a life of its own. This is decomposing pop music to the point where it risks being reclaimed by its constituent elements. Meldgaard seems to revel in a sense of sublime restraint on Victimizer, never allowing his music to break past the primitive constraints he has imposed upon these tracks. The overall effect of the record is not unlike that of Plastikman's deeply claustrophobic masterpiece, Consumed, albeit in a considerably more fully fleshed-out form. Victimizer is the equivalent of a machine that has been constructed out of once-functional detritus collected from the tunnels beneath an ancient and decrepit European city, like something out of a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film.

Though it could by no means be characterized as trance or progressive house, there is nonetheless something mesmerizing and reflective in the brooding tones of Mikkel Metal's Victimizer. The album is a reaction to late-'90s, early 21st Century IDM in much the same manner as was early post-punk to the waning punk rock scene of the late '70s. Beneath the dull and leaden surface of Meldgaard's pieces remain traces, however stilted and skeletal, of something vibrant and upbeat. But although the record is periodically illuminated by the occasional stray ray of sunshine, make no mistake about it: Victimizer is dance music for the late, late night set.

1. Memories
2. Rain
3. Hemper
4. Lurlun
5. Victimizer
6. Align
7. Dorant
8. Kaluga
9. Trams
10. Microho

Most Read