- There is a tendency to talk about the music of Tobias Freund, a studio engineer who has twiddled knobs for everyone from Milli Vanilli to Marcel Dettmann, purely in terms of sound quality. Like his last album, Leaning Over Backwards, A Series of Shocks is rich and spatially ambitious. The low-end (a dark, bubbling mass of tuned kicks and bass undulations), compresses your chest with physical force. Up top, claps, hi-hats and burbling synths levitate in mid-air or spiral off into the starry ether. This is big techno: widescreen and 3D, clean and pure.
That signature sound—"A certain roughness combined with audiophile accuracy," Freund told Beatport last year – is so monumental it makes even rudimentary tracks (the brooding "Fast Null," the trippy "Heartbeat"), sound unreasonably exciting. Its sheer scale, however, is ultimately less important than its close, idiosyncratic detail. That is what makes Freund's music satisfying at home and likely to make your heart burst on the dance floor. On that front, the martial "Ya Po," with its endless, ecstatic arps, is a ready-made Berghain classic.
The foregrounding of twinkly, arpeggiated synth lines is more pronounced than on Leaning Over Backwards (check the gorgeous "He Said" or the Tangerine Dream-esque "Entire," a collaboration with nsi. partner Max Loderbauer), but otherwise it's business as unusual for Freund, who spends the album embedding his traditional techno with quirky details. The rock drums that drive the twisted leftfield funk of "If" are one obvious example. The terrific "Instant"—a simple, squelchy acid track—is lifted by delicate bleeps and ripples, and the kind of clipped, disembodied vocal sample that Freund often uses, brilliantly, to layer-in texture, atmosphere and rhythmic urgency. That's Freund for you: a supreme techno stylist.
01. Entire (CD only)
05. Ya Po
06. The Scheme Of Things
07. He Said
08. Cursor Item Only (CD only)
10. Fast Null