Farben: Farben (Faitiche)
Seemingly from out of nowhere, German minimal producer Jan Jelinek revives his Farben project for this under-the-radar 12" of new tracks. It’s less a single and more an EP, with no distinct grooves or real commercial potential, but rather an extended foray into updating Farben’s aesthetic with new sounds and a broader latitude for experimentation. If the Textstar CD from 2003 (which compiled tracks from 4 EPs on the Klang label) was Jelinek’s most commercially viable work, then this new self-titled affair is a stern rebuttal, opting instead to play with strange sonic juxtapositions and only tangential compatibility for a dancefloor. Whatever Jelinek has sacrificed on the floor, however, is made up for with clever and unexpected twists and turns. I didn’t really anticipate his first track in 6+ years under the name to be beatless, for example. It sets the tone that this is quite different than what fans may expect, and so “Rrival (Inn)” is a bit of a palate-cleanser before diving headlong into the crinkly, warm anti-funk of the three tracks that follow. There’s something strangely classic sounding about these tracks, even as they appear to buck convention almost completely. The drum kicks all have a dull mid-range of old gear, and the mix overall is quite low and uncompressed, something that is refreshing in the day and age of maximal compression. Think of it as the sharp opposite of electrohouse, with looping and sequencing that is not super quantized, a mix that is easy on the ears, and sounds that are warm and quiet. “Kurbuch 2” is the most obvious nod to the past, with its clear acid house-esque bassline, but that’s where the similarity ends. Like the other tracks here, it has a languid quality that sets the tone away from the ultra-rigid precision of most minimal techno and tech house. My favorite is the woozy ungroove of “A Spiral Worldorder,” full of strange samples, bassline wobbles, drippy effects and weird lo-fi rimshots. It’s an unusual return for Jelinek to the Farben moniker, but a welcome one nonetheless. I’m hopeful that he’ll further explore the curious waters he treads here.
Listen/watch: A Spiral Worldorder