- Last time I spoke with Lakker it felt like they were still finding themselves. It was the night of one of their first Killekill gigs together at Suicide Circus in Berlin. They were both living in Dublin at the time, they'd released just a handful of records and were ironing out the kinks in their live show. The set that night was visceral and viscous—a little patchy and unresolved, but powerful nevertheless. It posed quite the challenge for the European techno fan: flighty, bass-heavy and with little 4/4 regularity to speak of, it was a sound clearly more suited to UK ears. But they stuck to their guns anyhow, telling me, "We play what we play, doesn't matter what club we're in. Doing your thing is better than trying to guess what people are expecting."
That's Lakker through and through. Even their straightest techno works for the likes of Stroboscopic Artefacts and Blueprint have never fully committed themselves to the dance floor. What they deliver instead is far more subtle. In EP format this hasn't always worked well in their favour, but give Lakker the listening space and you'll find some of the most intriguing and detailed sound design around.
On Tundra, the duo's debut long-player for R&S, Lakker seem fully in their element. The ideas have room to breathe and consolidate themselves. There's a real sense of flow, too, with tracks sometimes bleeding seamlessly from one to the next. For the first time, it seems, the disparate threads that define Lakker's output have woven themselves into a choral, billowy whole. Not that Tundra is all candy floss and fluffy clouds. Even the loveliest moments here carry with them Lakker's dark presence—in the tribal drumming of "Milch," for example, or the nightmarish clouds that gather over "Halite."
Lakker have always been great sculptors of mood and tension, here illustrated best in the swollen "Mountain Divide." "Three Songs" is also worth a mention as one of Tundra's most songful, melodious efforts. But for me, Lakker are best at their weirdest, such as on the dystopian "Pylon." Then you have closers "Oktavist" and "Herald," strange and skulking creatures fed on Weird Things and other Warp and Rephlex treats. If two years ago Lakker were unsure about themselves, they certainly don't sound it anymore.
03. Mountain Divide
04. Three Songs