- Dopplereffekt—a project led by Drexciya's Gerald Donald—has spent over a decade fetishizing technology (sometimes literally). They started out as an electro outfit, but in their two-decade run have gradually shorn nearly every vestige of rhythm from their music, resulting in 2007's Calabi Yau Space, a record so desolate it seemed to end their output entirely. Now Dopplereffekt return in chilly form on Berlin's Leisure System, with their drum machines back in hand.
With its simple choral pad melody, "Tetrahymena" feels like a throwback to the older days. Instead of nostalgia, there's an icy and almost confrontational blankness—every rattling drum hit feels like it's ringing off cold marble, and the foreboding undercurrent is all intrigue and suspicion. Those themes continue in "Gene Silencing," which is, for my money, one of the most breathtaking tracks in Donald's catalogue. It's a perfect example of Dopplereffekt's uncommon beauty. The Kraftwerkian synths are like wafts of dry ice, and there's something devastatingly mournful about the melody.
Things finish off with "Zygote," an experimental number where the bassline takes hold and a clanging sound is sent writhing through a series of filters. Though Tetrahymena is only bite-sized, its emotional imprint lasts much longer than the record's 14 minutes.
B1 Gene Silencing