Label: Semantica Records
Release Date: 22/06/2015
Better known by her moniker Cio D’or, Cologne based Cio Dorbandt has been a prolific and diverse figure in the world of experimental electronica. With two albums, 10 solo EPs, and three EPs co-produced with the likes of Donato Dozzy, Gabriel Ananda and Paul Brtschitsch, her output has continually shifted in style. Her latest release, entitled All in All, comes from Sverca’s Semantica imprint, and marks yet another change in approach. Earlier this year, we were treated to ‘Off and On’, a silk-spun dub/ambient 12” that hinted at brooding, unspoken moods. This time however, Dorbandt makes no effort to hide the darker tendencies in her aesthetic.
The LP is crammed with shepard-tone synths and ticking 808 percussion, not to mention an omnipresent sub, reaching unfathomable depths at points. Opener ‘After And Before’ gives us a glimpse of things to come before the album has fully begun, as a discordant string motif gives way to reveal chasms of bass in the track’s closing seconds. ‘Tomorrow Was Yesterday’ begins with the same sense of lurking menace, before slowly peaking above the clouds in the track’s final section. Transitioning to rousing orchestral timbres amid Dorbandt’s gum-stuck kicks and vaporous high-end, the track makes a fitting indicator of the contrast found across the rest of the LP. The trembling strings and dulcet tone keys of ‘Now and Then’ are case in point; feeling oddly at ease alongside puncturing bass and grumbling atmospherics.
Dorbandt’s work has always had an expansive feel to it, perhaps highlighted by the aforementioned breadth of her output. Here for example, despite the undercurrent of paranoia; there is also a thrill in exploring the uncharted. They feature fairly frequently, but the way in which she places tremoring orchestral timbres within clinical early-hours techno feels refreshingly unfamiliar.
As the LP progresses, things become progressively more abstract. From the Deep Medi-style sway of ‘Hecto’ to ‘Yotta’s carousel of buoyant low-end and hissing percussion. Perhaps signified by their similar titles, the final tracks almost seem to merge into one, ‘Yocta’ sounds like a languid cousin of its predecessor. The track glides deftly; like some dead eyed sea-floor inhabitant snaking through the depths. ‘Zepto’ closes the LP with even deeper ventures; electrical purring, plodding kicks and warbling metallic soundscapes.