One of my oldest and closest friends, the venerable Ethan Braun, proclaimed  upon first hearing it that Ständigen Gewäsch was “what Steve Reich wished he could do” - I don’t know if I can really accept such high praise, but I can certainly repeat it here, to let the reader know what others have said.

I honestly have a bit of a hard time with techno, despite how much of it I’ve made. When I was a kid, in Germany, I’d hear the various eurodance and trance hits, and to the damnation of my street cred, I liked it - it was only later, after starting to play guitar and listening to more rock music that I felt like it was all a bit embarrassing. How could I fuck with Haddaway once I’d heard Hendrix? As a result of this, though I loved stuff like Aphex and DJ Shadow as much as Yes or King Crimson, I kept hanging on to this sense of embarrassment about the 4-to-the-floor zone. The “musician” in me felt like it was too easy, everything at the same tempo, same time signature, hyper-adherent to the genre signifiers. The romantic in me found little humanity to wrestle with, the obvious qualities all being highly mechanized and impersonal.


I first heard Basic Channel in 2008, after reading something about them in an interview with Sean Booth of Autechre - apparently I needed someone “legit” to tell me it was ok to get into techno. Shortly thereafter, I was told by a guy I was working with to get Gas’s Königsforst and Burger/Ink’s Las Vegas, since I liked the Basic Channel BCD comp I’d found on Soulseek. I loved all three, and suddenly felt like an absolute fool for having discounted techno - in fact, in contrast to the wonderful subtlety I found on these records, the more frantic IDM stuff I’d been into seemed tacky and worthless in comparison. I never really recovered my interest in IDM after this...some doors can never be closed...

I soon got into stuff like Vladislav Delay, Pole, the other Chain Reaction albums, and the SF scene of dudes like Kit Clayton, Sutekh and Twerk. Vlad’s The Four Quarters and Kit Clayton’s Nek Sanalet really hit me, and those remain perennial favourites; the rest of it just seemed “ok” in comparison to the stuff that had opened those doors for me. When I heard BCD-2, I didn’t like it, and still don’t, as it felt like an intrusion of the Berghain nonsense I’d found so happily absent on the first volume.

I’m unsure why I’m going on so much about this, but it seems necessary, somehow. I love what techno is capable of, but hate how it so often falls so horribly short of that capacity. I could say the same, I suppose, about any other genre, but nothing makes me feel quite as anhedonic as dance music that’s anything other than transcendent. It is, for me, an absolutely binary situation - it either is, or is not. There is no middle ground, and if I say there is, it’s ‘cause I’m being charitable, or polite, or I don’t want to rock whichever conversational boat I’m currently in.

So, this album, as should be obvious, is my attempt at removing everything I dislike from the techno idiom, leaving only what I find properly numinous about it. These are sounds I would happily hear forever.

Cover art by Michael Keusch.
© 2020