Pyrolator – Neuland

January 01, 1970

(Bureau B)


It’s probably a lot of fun to watch Kurt Dahlke, the
electronic composer and DJ who records under the name Pyrolator, perform his
pulsing, pounding music. He uses a Buchla Lightning II to sculpt his sounds, manipulating beats, tones and samples
by moving two rods in the air in front of this machine. He also employs a
Marta, controlled by touch. So, unlike many electronic artists who sit, in a
fairly static way, behind their laptops,
Dahlke’s performance is roughly as kinetic as his music, which blends the
thump, thump, thump of the club with delicate, sometimes otherworldly melodies.


Dahkle hasn’t recorded in nearly a quarter century, but he
has kept busy, otherwise, by
performing live and in clubs and by remixing other people’s music for the dance
floor. #Neuland#, not surprisingly, is built largely around insistent,
trance-inducing rhythms, lighter and more malleable, perhaps, than pure dance
music, but heavily influenced by it. “Hamtramck”, for instance, flits playfully
around a sharp-edged, four-on-the-floor beat, upbeats cracking like some
idealized version of handclaps. Yet around this hedonistic architecture, a
cerebral stew of melodic sounds percolates – popcorn-popping synthesizer tones,
mysterious washes of tone, funk-disco keyboard riffs.  “Myrtle & Knickerbocker,” another
rhythmically dominated track, infuses austere electro beats with the warmth of
organic sounding keyboards (they sound very much like strummed guitars). Even
the most dance-like of theses tracks are as much about the brain and spirit as
the body.


Yet where Pyrolator really shines, in my view, is in the
tracks that break freest of rhythmic conventions, in the lovely, free-form roil
and mist of “Merapi” and the slow-blooming lyricism of closer “Irresponsibly
Happy”. Both of these tracks are welcome breaks, oases almost, in long
stretches of dry, disciplined, thumping techno, a flowering of musical ideas
that are as interesting as the equipment Dahlke uses to make them.


DOWNLOAD: “Merapi”
“Irresponsibly Happy” JENNIFER

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