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Cauldron Subsidence

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Album Review

Those who were introduced to Sven Schienhammer's personal take on dub-infused techno by exposure to his previous album, Unusual Signals, may find themselves unprepared for the darker, more dubstep-influenced sounds he explores on Cauldron Subsidence. Actually, it's those who have been following his 12" releases that may be better prepared: earlier singles going back as far as 2001 are collected here, as well as some current material. But it all hangs together remarkably well as a single musical statement: "Deep Rooted" is built on a foreboding, claustrophobic bass sound combined with strange and clinical-sounding vocal samples, while "Obstacles" features a somewhat brighter sound and a constantly shifting drum texture over a repetitive two-chord progression. There are times when Schienhammer's less-is-more aesthetic gets away from him, as on "Fall into Oblivion" — on this track, elements that combine elsewhere to create a sort of elegant minimalism sound like mere laziness. But then the slowly lurching 12/8 rhythm of "Pandemonium" catches your attention, and leads you into the explicitly dubwise and ethereally beautiful "Transmitters," and all is forgiven. This stuff will seem befuddling to some listeners, but will speak directly to the souls of others.

Cauldron Subsidence, Quantec
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