Conrad Schnitzler: Zug, Reshaped & Remodeled by Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer (m=minimal)
In the wake of Cluster founder Conrad Schnitzler’s recent passing, m=minimal has been paying tribute to his legacy with a series of releases. The first, Con-Struct, was a studious treatment of his last material by m=minimal founders Borngräber and Struver, and this is another. Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer each bring a hefty reputation to the table. Villalobos has been exploring the outer limits of minimal techno for the last 10+ years, while Loderbauer has his own legacy as Sun Electric but has been lingering in the fringe himself lately with the freeform dub and improv electronic sprawl of the Moritz Von Oswald Trio. The duo take on “Zug" in two extended mixes, an upbeat "Aktion Mix” and a more spacious “Sorgenkind Mix.” The “Aktion Mix” is classic Villalobos, starting with a simple, repetitive kick/clap techno loop until the details start to skitter and sway around it. Schnitzler’s guitar and synths accentuate the track, but this is first and foremost a rhythmic workout true to both remixer’s sensibilities. The “Sorgenkind Mix” is more satisfying, though, somehow. The lack of such a predictable techno framework seems to honor Schnitzler’s legacy more, despite making it virtually unplayable for most DJs. Loderbauer’s time in the Moritz Von Oswald Trio seems more obvious here, and Villalobos’s spirit still shines through in terms of trippy effects and precise detailing, pulling in the flanged hihats and sounds of Schnitzler’s original along with their own treatments and manipulations. Both of their cuts feel improvisational despite how controlled their outcomes may be. The second half of the release reprises two cuts released in 2010 by the label. Stefan Betke contributes his own mix as Pole, emphasizing the dub and delay, modifying the original’s rolling gallop into something more syncopated and swingy. Borngräber and Strüver perhaps take the heaviest hand to the source material here, throwing down a chunky plodding dance track with some fat low-end as the framework for Schnitzler’s various source sounds. It’s a bit of an odd-man-out scenario, as the first three mixes seem so firmly rooted in experimental techno and dub, while the last one is far more immediate and aggressive with almost a rock n’ roll attitude.