Gleaming scalpels. Spotless masks for the surgeons to breathe through. Pristine, hygienic tiling. Perfectly-ironed lab coats. Scalpels crossing the abdomen of the patient like surfboards on a sea of flesh. The whispers of doctors. Beep. Beep. Beeeeeeeeeeeep. The patient is gone. Call the freaks of Niederflur , or this will end up in a lawsuit that will leave the hospital penniless. Few specialists have achieved the level of credibility in the operating room as Christopher Bleckmann and Hannes Wenner. Their scrutinising gaze, their look of evil clones, their perfectionism in cardiovascular electronic, their robotic details: right now, there are few people better for saving impossible operations and rescuing patients lying sliced down the middle on the table of the 4x4. They have earned their stripes with serious work and application, with the highest marks from the University of Minimaland, with that raw emotional distancing from the patient that is required by extreme technoid micro-surgery.
The proof of their meteoric rise is made apparent by the miracles worked in the Hospital of M_nus. Their debut, “ND4” is long past, but it remains one of the most attractive peaks of Richie Hawtin ’s label in recent years. Now, without the scrutinising look of the Canadian with the German haircut, the duo established in Cologne is riding solo with its own label, Niederflur Tracks, and expanding its sound, without giving up the microscopic forms and subatomic asepsis that has characterised its particular universe from the beginning. “Bipolar” is minimal turned in on itself, a reductionist paranoia where there is not a single, I repeat, not a single extra note, a single extra effect, a line of bass that prances about more than necessary. It’s pure M_nus sound, but at times even more than M_nus, because it uses less than M_nus (and it has a muscular inflection that also brings it closer to the old school of Plus 8). If you don’t like the tongue-twisters that are typical of minimal humour, then we’ll just say that they ragingly seek total hypnosis, appealing to the smallest number of tools possible. They do it by devastating the percussive frameworks until they make them into the bones of a sardine –in “Mimesis” they reduce the beat to a simple pulsation. They do the same thing by letting effects play for a second or two—I love the mechanical crickets that hide under the minimal meets industrial rug of “Isotrop”. They also do it betting on obsessive repetition, strictly defined patterns, and the rigorousness of the mathematical formulas on which they base their music: here there is no place for surprise, for unexpected tips, for breaking out of the routine, for improvisation. And this time, one can detect a few little sparks of microhouse, tech-house, and even IDM in their discourse –I’m damned if “Prisma” isn’t pure “Artificial Intelligence” and along the way, it confirms the influence of the old albums of the Plus 8 label.
Subject to this radical determinism, marked by the aroma of disinfectant, they move their vessel of mechanical rhythms stripped down to their purest essence, on a sea of microscopic waves marked by waves of low notes. They seem to come from a frozen hell: in “Polsequenz” they don’t seem to be there, but when you look for them you find that they have been beating at your temples like an invisible torture from the beginning; in “Integral” they come up like a terrifying oscillation that sticks to your sternum and wants to drive you crazy. The architectural structures are cold, angular, without curves, they’re similar to that misty Cologne, coloured like cement, of marble buildings and dark corners without streetlights. This is ideal music for journeying around chilly urban settings, and giving a little mystery to your nocturnal wanderings. Hell, “Normalnull”, with its disturbing effects, and “Feldstarke”, with its springy bass, are pure suspense. They say that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Wrong. When Niederflur makes the physics rules, the shortest distance between two points is minimal. Óscar Broc