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Mike Dehnert: Lichtbedingt (Delsin)

Mike Denhert has always been slightly elusive for me. I’d heard numerous tracks on compilations and previewed several of his 12”s before hearing his Fachwerk 25 collection — I think that was the first time his music really resonated with me on a deeper level. Lichtbedingt veers away from some of the more listening-oriented sounds of Fachwerk 25 and instead feels more like a collection of slick DJ tools, but hearing such a block of quality productions and experiments back to back, I feel as though there is more of a method to Dehnert’s madness than I’d originally perceived. These are often minimal, dubby james that bob in time with equal amounts of sleekness and utility; “Emlo” is a prime example, with its undulating sub-bass line and clean rhythm section that never seems to let up. Other tracks are even more tightly wound, like the urgent stride of “Channeled,” a cut that would no doubt sound fantastic on a massive system. The odd, angular shape shifting of “Movement” and the jagged edges of “Single Action” harken back to techno’s most mutant phase around the turn of the century, when rules largely went out the window and yet the music still held together to move dancefloors in new and exciting ways. So I find there to be traces of the warped genius of Dan Bell and vintage Perlon in Dehnert’s productions, even as these are less tidy, more impatient and squirmy.

“Remove” is an exception here, sputtering and bleeping like a machine that’s run out of gas, lending a little extra edge to the album by virtue of breaking tradition so fully. It’s diversions like that, or the beatless forms of “Quadrature,” providing some real shifts in dynamics and pacing. But Dehnert really does save the best for last: “En Outre”’s funky as hell weirdo synth pattern and a shimmying tech house kit make it purely irresistible. Dehnert often skates the line between looped improvisation and utility, but there is a certain urgency and a playful personality behind many of these tracks that gives them their own infectious flair.

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