Barker & Baumecker: Transsektoral (Ostgut-Ton)
Being a great techno producer can have its downside. When you are so consistently good at tightly crafting techno tracks that are both functional and also quality listening, it can be backhandedly underwhelming when you release a full-length album that is so unsurprising in its quality control and delivery. Such is perhaps the case for Barker and Baumecker, whose full-length on Ostgut-Ton is not only keeping with their reputation for quality tracks but also for the label’s repertoire of fine dance music. Still, what Transsektoral lacks in immediacy or wow factor, it makes up for in the details. It’s an excellent batch of tracks from start to finish, with finely tuned productions that actually cover a fairly broad range in style and sound within eleven tracks. While there are a few really bang-on techno numbers (the unfortunately named “Buttcracker” is my favorite, with its completely unexpected bass kick syncopation), there are some less obvious ones to be found as well. “Trafo” sounds like Autechre taking on the dancefloor, while “No Body” is a spacy tie-in to the cut-up post-garage/whatever sound that’s bleeding into the periphery of other genres. “Tranq” feels almost like a nod to late 90s LFO, with a mid tempo groove and tons of effects running amok, while “Trans_It” feels like a direct homage to mid 90s trance (think Love Inc.). Despite all these references to the dance music of the last 20 years, the technical details and prowess of Transsektoral’s guts make it feel very much current, like Barker & Baumecker are combing through the annals of the dance music that’s inspired them and fusing them together with a current twist, not without a lot of love, I’m sure.