Objekt Flatland

[PAN; 2014]

Styles: electro, minimal synth, dubstep, technodo
Others: Dopplereffekt, Chris Cohen, Cabaret Voltaire

“Everything is in flux,” stated Heraclytus when speaking to the boundless nature of objects (and thus also their surrounding realities). A concept reigned in to Flatland, Objekt’s debut full-length and first effort for the PAN label, every particle and idea is in motion. Anchored by the familiar sonic strokes of the “Agnes” tracks — “Agnes Revenge” and “Agnes Apparatus” — the album defines itself as a dance-focused record synced out of time with the dancer.

With these experiments of form and response with so-called “dance” and “experimental” music, Berlin-based TJ Hertz gets at larger issues concerning time and space by surgically slicing, operating, then suturing the operative functions of dance music. The dancefloor is, after all, a speculative space, at once common ground and no-man’s land. Hertz sees this and in turn separates the synaptic nerves of dance music genres to see “how things work.” The genius here is that he puts it all back together with a cold headiness that the legs never notice; the aesthetic here is disconnected from the affected, unaffected.

“Stray,” for instance, bridges the large gaps between dubstep and minimal synth/post-punk, casting out a steadily staunch drum machine cadence and driving the more melodic elements down a well, “drenched in reverb.” Dog-whistle frequencies spar with the bass while a middling lick wavers around, the track splashing claps along with cold snare as the track rises and falls before simply fading away. On other songs like “Rachet,” Hertz engages the distance between techno and Buchla synth experimentation. The track is architecturally built like a Chris Cohen attempt at Dopplereffekt: everything is wound up and twisted around a locked, snapping kick-clap functional rhythm. The combination is striking.

Later in the album, “One Stitch Follows Another” rears its head. Like Perc taking on Theo Parrish, the late runner rides on a distressingly straight disco rhythm. Bells creep in, vocal samples allude the listener, and the track is interrupted by jarring time-shocked blasts. Flatland, for all intents and purposes, is a funk/electro record. The song structures have an absolute straightness about them, but they’re all diametrically examined, a prism spun to examine the contours of its own dimensionality, a rhizomatic act.

Links: Objekt - PAN

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Some releases are so incredible we just can’t help but exclaim EUREKA! While many of our picks here defy categorization and explore the constructed boundaries between ‘music’ and ‘noise,’ others complement, continue, or rupture traditions that provide new forms and ways of listening. Not all of our favorites will be listed here, but we think each EUREKA! album is worthy of careful consideration. This section is a work-in-progress, so expect its definition to be in perpetual flux.

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