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Upsets Ducks

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Album Review

Having made his mark both with earlier releases and then his Areal label, Sebastian Riedl aka Basteroid comes up with the goods on his own first full-length for the label, Upsets Ducks. Aiming squarely to create a smart, solid album rather than either a collection of songs or self-conscious experimentation, Basteroid hits the ground running with the sleek "16 Steps Away from the Stars," a moody combination of trance's immediacy and hints of industrial and deep dub, and from there Upsets Ducks barely puts a foot wrong. Skipping through a variety of styles without drawing too far from his core techno approach — one of the more enjoyable efforts is the sly funk guitar on "Alllright" shading the basic rhythm rather than dominating it — Basteroid is clearly working within a series of traditions he loves and knows well. His debt to Orbital in particular is fairly noteworthy — songs like "Jacktales" and "Pulsador de Alarma" blend the same sense of on-point electronics and controlled quirk shaped into pop form that the duo did so well. Moments like the shuddering, skipping breaks towards the middle of "Attention: Upsets Ducks" show enjoyable variations on preset expectations, even while his knowledge of a perfectly straightforward beat and flow stands out just as strongly. Best song title — "How Not to Play Piano" (which, of course, features no piano — at least, no audible piano). [An LP version was also released.]


Born: Austria

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Alongside friends Metope and Konfekt, Basteroid (aka Sebastian Riedl) founded the German minimal techno label Areal in 2000. Getting started on electronic music production at an early age, Riedl left his native Austria for electronic music hotbed Cologne, Germany. It was there that he found likeminded producers and friends, who developed into a small artist community in the shadows of the mighty Kompakt juggernaut (which now distributes Areal releases almost exclusively). His debut 12", Automatique,...
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