While Death in Vegas asks why a techno band can’t play rock and the likes of Ben Neill get trumpets and drum n’ bass to converse, Schneider TM goes an entirely different route altogether. On Moist, electronics are happy and built with round edges to prevent hurting anyone or to prevent the beats themselves from getting hacked to pieces. Despite the definite day-glo digital vibe and overwhelming lack of gloom, the end result doesn’t come off as a rehash of artists like Flowchart or Junior Varsity KM.
Like Autechre, Schneider TM (all songs by Dirk Dresselhaus, thank you very much) makes one think of the beats as coming from a toylike box, and not from a turntable or computer. The effect is that niftiest of head and electronic music — the evocation of a mood both futuristic and retro. It’s the future as it never was nor will be. Unlike Autechre, there’s nothing here that’ll make you think of insects emailing each other or Martian architecture. City Slang labelmates (at least in Europe) Tortoise are kindred spirits here, in their remixed forms, or if you caught their “Madison Avenue” single (which made more than one person say “sounds like the Knight Rider theme”). Also comparable is Mark Clifford in his Disjecta guise, or a more rhythmically-oriented and less spacious Tomorrowland.
While the Death in Vegas record seems to revel without cause in its use of “real” basses and guitars, here their use (or some very convincing samples) is much more successful. I hear a Mu-Troned bass on “Moonboots,” some Chicago-indie style bass chording on “Raum Im Ort,” and a fuzz wall on “Starfuck” that’s very K. Shields-esque.
This is a very refreshing record. While I love the densely layered/atomic wasteland rhythms and textures of artists like Third Eye Foundation or Witchman, I have an equal affection for sweetly chirping keys and “four on the floor” beats in the classic Orb style. It’s good to know that “less is more” is not a philosophy limited to just the minimalists and neo-droners.
Written by Pearson Greer.