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Album Review

Going strong for roughly half a decade now — albeit in a woozy, lurching, semi-sullen fashion — Mikkel Meldgaard has been one of the most prolific and visible producers to follow up on the visions of Berlin's Basic Channel and Chain Reaction, at least when it comes to the sides of those labels that were all but entirely disconnected from the dancefloor. Meldgaard has been central to Copenhagen's Echocord and had some of his vinyl tracks for that label compiled for 2005's Close Selections, and Victimizer works similarly, using tracks that were issued on Kompakt singles, but it's more reliant on new material. Even without the indicative title, it's evident that the album is something like a Berlin-style dub analogue to Depeche Mode's Violator. Its moody temperament and placid-kinetic basslines, along with the spaces between the beats and the subtle deployment of Teutonic blues guitar, have a way of resembling ambient versions of "World in My Eyes," "Personal Jesus," and "Halo." In other words, if Violator were stripped of anything approaching a grand gesture — actually, anything approaching a clear gesture — and had its rhythms swollen and slowed, with added textural effects, it might sound a lot like this. Even though Meldgaard's productions have gradually moved away from their relatively simplistic rhythm-and-texture-only template, with added use of occasional vocals, guitars, and all-around livelier arrangements, there's no doubt that he's still making tracks — not songs. The vocals are either buried or vaporized, the guitars accent rather than protrude, and there are no verses or choruses or bridges or anything like that. In every shape and form, this is head music, conducive only to swaying and other slow-motion activities. Three of the tracks are pulled from Meldgaard's three Kompakt singles, and the seven new ones are as consistently engaging as anything else from his past. He is now dangerously close to becoming as vital to dub-oriented ambient techno as Rod Modell.


Born: 1973 in Horsens, Denmark

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Prior to becoming one of the better torch carriers for the Basic Channel school of minimalist dubby techno, Mikkel Meldgaard was playing guitar in a number of shoegaze-inspired rock bands in his native Denmark. His interests became increasingly electronics-based, and by the end of 2000 he had his first productions as Mikkel Metal out on Hal 9000. After an MP3 release for Datamusik, he became a flagship producer for the Echocord label, in addition to releasing a pair of 12" for Kompakt during 2003....
Full bio
Victimizer, Mikkel Metal
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