Objekt – ‘Flatland’ (PAN)

The phenomenon of dimensions bears particular resonance with TJ Hertz’s debut full length for PAN, gleaned from the title, ‘Flatland’ and reflected in the artwork by Kathrin Politis and label boss, Bill Kouligas. In physics the sensation of experiencing an existing dimension inside of an additional one is explained as if one were to be “stood above, looking down” from the aspect of the new dimension i.e. looking at a 2D object from a 3D perspective. The varying angles and approaches this album takes are diverse and expansive; listening to it is augmented by a “view from above”, as if looking down onto a dimension.

Objekt’s music has always been somewhat removed from any pigeonhole – see previous releases and his recorded set from Freerotation ’14 for styles and tastes. In the album, just as in his DJ sets, influences are only just referred to, never depended on. He creates a shape whose form bears the imprints of Jungle, Post-industrial, Boards of Canada-esque ambience and an abundance of Techno/Electro hybrids, not least to mention Dopplereffekt, with whom he recently shared an EP with on Leisure System.

The album gets off to a bold, punchy start on ‘Agnes Revenge’ where acidic glitches and mechanical tremors shape an opaque, unknown world. ‘One Fell Swoop’ introduces a familiarly peculiar time signature, building the world inside the album with components very far removed from ordinary instrumentation or the typical electronic repertoire, the sound sculpts an environment that gains intriguing depth and foreboding texture. The interlude on the track is reminiscent of BOC’s hazy synths, creating an uplifting atmosphere whilst more industrial grinds and scrapes maintain a darker edge.

‘Ratchet’ is where the album begins to show off its true grace, the rhythm is entirely dictated by the melody but barely any percussive elements make a significant appearance. This is reversed on the thudding ‘Strays’, which adds tension to the albums timbre, all-the-while maintaining that recurring sense of other-worldliness through atmospheric modulation and a wonderfully bent pitch. ‘Agnes Apparatus’ recycles the tonality of the first track and creates a retrospective connection, provoking thoughtfulness and giving the ensuing second half further impetus.

The pulsating, rolling technique of both ‘Dogma’ and ‘First Witness’ are reminiscent of a sound identifiable with the equally individual and pioneering, Shogun Audio affiliated Rockwell, bringing yet another aspect to the album that peels away on the next tracks to reveal a Drexciyan atmosphere, creating depth and texture at the pivotal mid-point in the piece. The intermittent ‘One Stitch Follows Another’ employs short robotic stabs and punches to separate the tune from the niceties of a club track, interrupting the pleasant, pulsating groove of the bass line.

‘Cataracts’ signs off the LP with an array of vibrations, drips and echoes that display different characteristics on each listening experience, ultimately summarising the piece as a multi-faceted and intriguing study of sound, sculpture and sensation in music.

‘Flatland’ is available to order on vinyl and digital here now

Oliver Todd

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