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Hinterland

Hinterland

Recondite is slowly coming to prominence as a bit of a producer’s producer, with his records receiving support from across the spectrum, from Ibiza’s terraces to the dark clubs of Germany. This is, more than anything, due to his versatility as a composer as well as producer, and his admirable desire to spread himself thin while so many are increasingly concentrating on carving out as deep a niche as possible. Equally adept in expressing the light and beautiful as he is at taking us through haunted landscapes, his music has an emotional breadth rarely encountered outside classical music, and yet, as with many of the great composers in that tradition, his ‘voice’ remains distinctive throughout.

Hinterland is his second full length, following on from 2012’s majestic On Acid, a candidate for the best record of the decade so far in my mind. While the latter’s unity was derived from the ubiquitous presence of the 303 bass synthesizer, the new album employs a greater variety of voices, yet maintains constancy through its relationship to the landscape that inspired the record – the Bavarian hinterland of the producer’s home.

It’s hard to describe in words how every track on this album seems related by its common sonic environment, but basically it’s in the details. Similar reverbs, similar tempi, similar voices and drum samples unify tracks which are nevertheless very much independent in a compositional sense, each expressing an observation of the landscape often referenced simply in their titles – ‘Leafs’, ‘Stems’, ‘Grove’. In this it follows – like no other record I can think of from the past few years – in the footsteps of standout pastoral records in electronic music. Wolfgang Voigt’s excursions through the black forest as GAS spring to mind, as do Aphex Twin’s synaesthetic portraits of Cornwall in parts of Selected Ambient Works Volume II. It is perhaps also why it succeeds where similar projects have failed, such as Pantha du Prince’s Black Noise, whose tracks never conveyed quite the same sense of place.

I won’t bother talking up certain tunes, as despite their individual merits, they really do merit being listened to in their proper context. If you want to hear a piece of electronic music which is refreshingly divorced, in an aesthetic sense, from the sounds of the urban environment but which still has sharp teeth, this record is for you.

by Now Then Sheffield