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Rrose x Bob Ostertag: Motormouth Variations (Sandwell District)

Sandwell District techno producer Rrose took advantage of Bob Ostertag’s open-ended Motormouth synthesis album (available on SoundCloud for free) and crafted this series of smart, subtle techno variations. Ostertag’s original pieces are all weird arp synthesis, without much melody to go on and only its patterns as rhythm (no supporting arrangements), so they make for startlingly great source material to work from. Rrose is quite capable as a producer in any context, and so he puts these abstract exercises to great use. Sometimes a comparison is more obvious between Ostertag’s original and Rrose’s variation, such as on “Wack [Variation One]” where Rrose frames up Ostertag’s original Buchla sprinkles with a deep, mechanical groove. “Arms & Legs [Variation One]” goes even further, pairing the original’s percolating arp with a clipped, industrial punch. But it’s not always about that contrast of worlds, though those studies in juxtaposition are often my favorites here. “Pointilism [Variation Two]” finds Rrose deconstructing Ostertag’s synthesis and repurposing it as a pronounced gallop, with effects and filter playing a significant role in the finished product. While some of the tracks here fit rather tidily into Sandwell District’s techno catalogue, it’s refreshing that Rrose has really thoroughly been engaged by Ostertag as a muse, more liberally exploring the outer limits of the dancefloor, falling off it completely even into something more interesting.

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