Label: SVS Records
Format: 12” / Digital
Release Date: 26/05/14
Crafted over the three years he spent touring Germany as one half of the experimental Günther Lause duo, _Intercity Express _is the latest LP from Maxim Wolzyn. The album is a sincere sonic chronicle of his experience: footsteps and train noises mix with techno beats, giving the listener a glimpse of the German cityscape.
Though paying homage to Berlin’s dub techno traditions, Wolzyn personalises Intercity Express by extensively featuring his collection of field recordings. Over the city clamour and pieces of broken dialogue, the beats develop smoothly as he alternately brings various intricate rhythmic patterns into the foreground.
This continuum is broken – albeit only for a moment – in the third track ‘Intercity Express’. In the eight-minute long titular track, the beat pattern is intercepted by fifteen seconds of silence and misaligned entries before launching into a steady, danceable section filled with dark warm beats and synths. The beginning of the track seem almost like a error against the straightforward, pure techno, leaving the the listener suspended in silence.
The short interlude track ‘Maschinenraum’ marks a departure from the rest of the LP: abrasive frequencies wildly pan for two minutes until they’re compressed into a dry, sparse spattering of noise. It’s a good primer for the ‘Drohnen über Karlsruhe’, with its lusciously wet beats. The production of ‘Drohnen’ stands out in particular, and unlike the first half of the LP, it features far more samples and beat patterns.
At times the LP can feel like it’s been held back slightly; ‘Time To’ is a track unique in its use of vocals, yet the vocals feel almost like an afterthought: its sparse melody lines could easily be replaced by synthetic textures. This said, whilst Wolzyn may have restricted himself from indulging in any especially drastic experiments across the record, Intercity Express still manages to break beyond the traditional dub-techno format through it’s wonderfully creative use of sound-design, seamlessly fusing meticulous rhythmic progression with the mess and noise of Berlin.