Anstam AnstamBaldwin / Carmichael
50 WEAPONS (FIFTYWEAPONS012, 12” + digital)
Right now, we could be throwing fire crackers and confetti, celebrating this return with marching bands and a street dances, but what for? Anstam is such a small name, so forgotten and so little vindicated that this 12” for Modeselektor’s label seems like a debut, when it really is like the return of the prodigal son, the second coming of Christ, something like that. That may sound like an exaggeration, something yours truly is not unfamiliar with (always out of enthusiasm, which makes commons sense fade and other parts of the body go wild), but once this piece of plastic starts playing it becomes obvious that this vinyl is worth every penny. Anstam: who are they? Little is known about them. Apparently, it’s a German duo, they released a couple of 12”s in 2007 ( “Aeto”, “Brom”) on their own label, and another one in 2009 ( “Cree”), and fell off the map, three singles on which the dark British IDM sound (in the vein of Skam and Modern Love) fused mysteriously with deep and bubbly Berlin techno (of the late-Monolake kind).
And then, silence. Two years have passed until Modeselektor took them out of anonymity and prepared them for this return, which helps to stimulate the turbulent techno scene, of grey chromatics and hidden violence. A month ago, there was a kind of taster in the form of “Albert”, a track on the 10” split single with Phon.O, but “Baldwin” and “Carmichael” are something completely different: there’s more rage, more dark arts. On the A-side, some influence from the Raime school (an inclination towards breakbeats with a muffled cadence and the use of biting basslines) and the textures plated in stainless steel. “Carmichael” follows the same path, only less violent, something like the gothic version of Mathew Jonson’s expansive techno. If, unlike a few years ago, the Anstam hype grows, they could become perceived as the umpteenth counterattack of intellectualised and un-hedonistic techno, covered in tar and bonfire smoke. But never mind that: those people were huge in their day and, judging from their comeback, they’re still on the cutting edge of the 4x4 with their neurons effervescent.