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Lakker is a Berlin-based experimental techno duo consisting of Dublin natives Dara Smith and Ian McDonnell. Since the early 2000s, they've crafted an uncompromising body of work marked by bitterly icy textures, stirring field recordings, broken rhythmic patterns, and punishing bass, evoking Arctic landscapes as well as intense, weekend-long club sessions. Following the challenging experimentation of the duo's debut, 2007's Ruido, Lakker gradually began issuing more danceable (but still unsettling) material, culminating in the ambitious 2015 full-length Tundra. Reflecting an interest in both natural sound and human society, the duo have increasingly incorporated acoustic instrumentation, vocals, and melodies inspired by folk and classical music into recordings such as 2019's Época. Aside from Lakker, Smith and McDonnell also release solo material as Arad and Eomac, respectively.
Lakker formed in 2003 and made a few compilation appearances before 2007's Ruido was issued on the Lazybird label; the album ranged from solitary piano vignettes to bracing percussion barrages. A few years passed prior to an assortment of more distinctive 2011-2014 EPs for labels such as Killekill, Blueprint, Stroboscopic Artefacts, and, most notably, Belgium's revered R&S. On the 2014 EPs Containing a Thousand and Mountain Divide, Smith and McDonnell evoked unease while deploying some of their richest obscured melodies. Tundra, the duo's second proper album, was released on R&S in 2015 with cited inspirations ranging from pre-Dare Human League to Arvo Pärt. Re:VIVE, an initiative of the Netherlands' Institute for Sound and Vision, then sought Smith and McDonnell to produce a conceptual work (based on the theme of water) using their audio-video archive as a sample source. The duo obliged with Struggle & Emerge, issued in 2016 on R&S. McDonnell's Eotrax label then released Lakker's Eris Harmonia EP in 2017.
Following a short break in order to pursue solo projects, Lakker returned with Época in 2019. The R&S-issued LP incorporated acoustic instrumentation such as violin, guitar, and bodhrán, as well as the duo's own vocals. ~ Andy Kellman
- Dublin, Ireland
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