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Farben - Textstar

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Artist: Farben

Album: Textstar

Label: Klang Elektronik

Review date: Jul. 18, 2002

Under the moniker Farben, Jan Jelinek has created some of the most curiously funky minimal-techno abstractions of the last seven years. Texstar (a compilation gathering together tracks from all four of Farben’s releases for the Klang Elektronik label), showcases Jelinek’s reductive tendencies in a manner not yet realized on such a successful scope. The haunted environs that cling to the skeletal remains of these nine tracks reveal a quirky elegance, a pared-down beauty, a reverberating sub-atomic world of granulated synthesis.

As is often the case with minimal technos’ insistence on the warping of traditional dance institutions and emphasis on shifting attention from the “macro” to the “micro”, the necessary bass required to sustain such a risky formula is usually absent. But on Textstar, the music’s rigid construction and intense production work never once jeopardize the fluidity that is so crucial to the overall development of this type of music. Farben recognizes the importance of the dub influence on minimal techno so he injects thick, gelatinous dub bursts into the mix. These bellowing gurgles seethe and swim beneath the loose template on which he casts his scattered clicks and act to elevate the brittle noise shards that are emitted.

As the first half of the album evolves out of the excellent “Love to Love You Baby” and “Beautone”, it’s difficult to focus on one track that doesn’t work in some odd way. Though “Bayreuth”, with its departure from the steady 120 -140 bpm diet offered by the majority of the album and its near meltdown of shivering low-end formations, is desperately out of sync with the groovy progressions set forth on the preceding five tracks. “Farben says: So Much Love” invents the most clever stand-in for a hi-hat when it substitutes the typical “tisss tisss “ with the “click click” of what sounds like the twisting of a sprocket wrench. It’s a simple device but when combined with the other small gestures on the album, it results in a slightly revolutionary inversion of accepted dance practices and it forces your ears into new and demanding territories.

All of Jelinek’s material works toward some sort of alignment of complimentary atmospheres. He strives for reorganization through a confusion of source material and the awkward introduction of clipped, melodic phases. When Jelinek’s goals attune with his capabilities, new directions are forged and blueprints for a decade’s worth of inspirational music are unfurled.

By John Yandrasits

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