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Fixmer: Beneath the Skin (Ostgut-Ton)

EBM veteran Terence Fixmer tilts his productions fully toward the
Ostgut-Ton/Berghain camp with this four-track EP for the label. Much
of Fixmer’s catalogue in the past has focused around toothy EBM
tracks, whether solo on a myriad of labels including International
Deejay Gigolo, Music Man, Citizen, Turbo, or Electric Deluxe (any
familiarity with each of those labels ought to suggest the respective
hue of the music), or in his collaborations with Nitzer Ebb vocalist
Douglas McCarthy (2004’s Between the Devil LP). Recent forays into
more minimal material resulted in Ostgut-Ton’s repress of Fixmer’s
“Aktion Mekanik Theme,” an original track that rounded out his
sterling collection of early 80s EBM and industrial jams, released by
Music Man back in ‘03. That release featured new takes on the track
by Marcel Dettmann, Norman Nodge, and Kobosil, but much more
satisfying than those are these four new tracks that stand so well on
their own.

Beneath The Skin EP by Terence Fixmer

The title cut has just the right nods to Fixmer’s more
sawtooth EBM sounds, anchored by a nice, deep low end and a rousing
4/4 kick. It has the nervous energy of vintage EBM but with the clean
and distilled discipline of current techno. The detuned, syncopated
bleeps and blips of “Trace to Nowhere” somehow recall both the
EBM of yore as well as its godfathers, Kraftwerk, while remaining
true to the pitch-black ethos of Fixmer’s repertoire, with vocal
pieces peppered throughout.  “Devil May Care” continues where the
previous cut leaves off, but without any of the vocal pieces —
instead just an insistent, driving combination of synths and pads
propelled by its steady kick. Closing cut “Immersion” shows off a
more languid side to Fixmer that more casual listeners like myself
may not have heard much before. It’s built around a more leisurely
tempo and comes and goes like a dream, still punctuated by tiny stabs
of noise and percussion, but with its rougher edges softened, indeed
inviting listeners to submerge fully. It’s a cool direction for
Fixmer, albeit one that aligns his sound much more closely to those
in the Berghain camp, which runs the risk of perhaps watering down
the rather uncompromising discography he’s accrued over the years,
but not to these ears. Recommended for fans of current Berlin techno
as well as those inspired by the rougher, darker sounds that have
informed much of Fixmer’s output.

Buy it: Ostgut-Ton Bandcamp