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Basic Channel

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Album Review

Sure, 20-minute songs had been done before — Donna Summer's "Love to Love You Baby," Kraftwerk's "Autobahn" — but never had so little progression occurred within such an epic context of time. On "Presence," the length of a traditional techno track passes before the song's percussion even starts. Similarly, besides the entry of percussion and the song's "Lyot"-like riff, nothing really changes. There are the few occasional static bursts and some muted percussion sprinkles, but the song isn't much more than a gigantic cycling maelstrom of throbbing bass frequencies, a steady 4/4 pound, and some syncopated high-hat snare taps. The record's other song, "Inversion," strips away all of this — percussion, synth, bass, 4/4 rhythm, addition, subtraction — resulting in a 20-minute exercise in sound modulation meets echoing reverb with a strange mechanical tone as the subject. In the end, this record takes the mesmerizing repetition of Cyrus' Enforcement to new lengths, resulting in a stunning record that requires more patience than only a small minority of music listeners cares to likely exercise.


Formed: 1993 in Berlin, Germany

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Basic Channel has become synonymous with a brand of stripped-down, ultra-minimal techno almost devoid of musical substance or intent. Both artist and label, Basic Channel was established by Berlin-based producers Mark Ernestus and Moritz Von Oswald (aka Maurizio) in 1993, and the pair have unhurriedly developed a slim but adored catalog of releases under such names as Cyrus, Phylyps, q1.1, Quadrant, Octagon, and Radiance — working a single-minded concept of nearly featureless machine music...
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