- Berlin producer Gilles Aiken, AKA Edward, has come along way from the hypnotic tech house of his early releases on WHITE. His odd path has led to an immersion in the music of krautrock artist Conny Plank (of Neu! and Cluster), whose music he remixed last year. On Into A Better Future, Aiken has done an admirable job of integrating Plank's techniques into a functional dance music context. The distance he's come since his debut LP, Teupitz, is startling evidence of an artist who can do whatever he wants.
Speaking to Musicbaum about the differences between Into A Better Future and his last LP, Aiken said: "The new one needs much more attention from its listener. Various parts get really weird. If you close your eyes and listen you might follow but if it's just music in the background it could get difficult. At least that's what I think." Indeed, Aiken bends and refracts the deep house template into an uncanny, psychedelic form. His union with Giegling makes perfect sense. In our recent Label of the month feature, label co-founder Konstantin spoke of being inspired by a small party at the New York record store Dope Jams: "It was dance music, but the bass drum was never the focus. I really liked that." Aiken, too, hits this sweet spot, focusing on mid-range percussion, atmosphere and motorik propulsion.
"Yes" dabbles in the '70s German sound, tempering a breezy techno snap with a guitar wash indebted to the "Frippertronics" technique King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp used in his collaborations with Brian Eno. Aiken told Little White Earbuds he likes to play Eno's "Thursday Afternoon" over techno tracks to put dance floors in an elegiac mood. He's dropped in a few beatless gems here, namely the wind-chiming "My Life In The Window" and the aptly-titled drone "Commercial Break." "Hecstatic" takes the logical next step, laying a blistering techno breakbeat under some beautiful, new age-style ambience.
Aiken alternates between head-music and a soaring melodicism that shines through the murk. The title track traverses both zones, starting with a hypnotic tom loop and Can-style spookiness and ending with heavenly pads. "Skating Beats" is unquestionably the album's banger. It arrives with a skipping house beat, the first rhythm that seems like a viable peak-time choice. A group of trippy arpeggios are eventually turned upside-down by a jarring and ecstatic funk-rock sample. There's also a sad grace to Edward's work, in keeping with the Giegling ethos. On "At Ease," he flits a doleful melody over a dubby house rhythm.
Kraut-informed house with an ambient lean has codified into itself into a genre these days (see Terekke's smudgy dance music, or much of the Further Records catalog), but not much of it works as well for dancing as what Edward's given us here. He's infused his modern house sound with a history of cosmic music and arrived at something unique. Despite the album's title, he seems more obsessed with the past. Either way, the future's looking rosy for Edward.
01. Let's Go feat. Mari Inoue
03. My Life In A Window
04. Into A Better Future
05. Skating Beats
07. Commercial Break
08. At Ease
09. Fooling The Magician
10. Miracel Steps