Earlier this month I had the good fortune to discover an album titled Pong by Senking which is the work of German electronics sculptor Jens Messel. As always in these situations, I began to do a little background research and found that Jessel has released a fair bit of material under the Senking name over the past 14 years.
I was so impressed by this album, both in terms of the music and the stunning production techniques employed that I immediately began to write a post extolling it's virtues. Before I had a chance to publish the piece however, a new release was issued by the Raster Noton label and so I promptly downloaded it to compare and contrast.
It's clear that Messel is tinkering with and developing his sound further whilst retaining continuity over the two year gap between these releases, but… what a sound! I had written a series of sentences whilst listening to 'Pong' to describe each element as it presented itself and I took this approach once more during my review time with Dazed. When I'd finished, I had repeated myself several times, but far from this being a sign of a lack of progression, I feel it is more an indication of an artist working within a fully realised and perfectly formed musical framework.
The key factor in Messel's sound is his controlled use of bass, he appears to have influences in the mechanics of both dubstep and experimental electronics. He switches effortlessly between dark, overdriven low-end diffusions, rough-neck subs and rugged low end contours. His music is literally dripping in breathtaking bass pressure. His use of space is also stunning, nothing sounds compressed or unfocussed, each element is allowed to float freely within the soundstage. The sparing use of eerie synths, spurts of electronic tones, organic elements and snippets of dialogue throughout adds a creeping paranoia to the whole set.
I didn't find too much information about this incredible EP online but this paragraph summed things up nicely enough for me to buy it immediately;
"His music takes the dramatic spirit of classic John Carpenter and Badalamenti themes and updates it with advanced, ultra-modern studio production in order to elucidate his occluded atmospheres. With a deeply personal touch he conjures expansive cinematic moods, often tainted with a sinister, midnight jazz appeal and always sculpted from the sort of tactile, synthesised wave shapes and tones your ears simply can't wait to grasp and fondle like a precious substance."
A strong contender for my release of the year - very highly recommended!
Postscript - Don't just play this EP (or any of Senking's other releases for that matter) through your computer speakers, they simply won't do it justice in the slightest. Push it through your hi-fi, dial up the volume and let the gargantuan, tectonic subs play havoc with your solar plexus.