Bretschneider & Deupree, Balance

Mille Plateaux
Released: 2002

Like a long, cool, beautiful waterfall that cascades over rocks and electrical wires and starts fires in secret, underground laboratories, the first full-length collaboration between two of the bigger names in "minimal" electronic music, 12k's Taylor Deupree and Raster-Noton's Frank Bretschneider, is as mesmerizing, as engrossing, and as entertaining as anything released on the Mille Plateaux label (or, for that matter, on the two artists' own labels). As with Bretschneider's (aka Komet's) recent work, the music on this disk is a continual stream of beats, snaps, and hefty, funky grooves. The songs bleed into one another to such an extent that this work could be mistaken for a continuous mix album. However, the individual tracks do have their own sense of unity, their own sense of purpose, and their own sense of structure. But what I've described thus far is merely the surface-level, the rhythm mostly. What makes this work more than a groove-fest is the intricate, delicate extraneous sounds that Deupree added to Bretschneider's abstract funk. The soft, snapping butterfly chuckles on "Dug In" emerge out of a wash of hefty beats and wailing synths, but then those beats and synths die out, and all we hear are the clicks--only, out of nowhere, the clicks get bigger, become echoes of themselves, and turn into a hefty beat comprised of snaps and buzzes. The whole disk is filled with tiny moments like that, tiny sounds amidst an onslaught of funky grooves. The result? One of the best electronic disks of the last few years--a disk that's funky enough to satisfy the clubber but with enough interesting, intricate sounds to give the sedentary months of listening pleasure.

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