- Cio D'Or's first album, 2009's Prologue-issued Die Faser, was the pinnacle of deep techno in the movement's early days. It exquisitely encapsulated that warm, subtle, endlessly hypnotic style known in certain corners as "headfuck" techno. Since then, the Cologne artist's sparse output has revealed an ever-increasing, seemingly microscopic focus on sound design, as well as a wider approach to rhythm. Now, nearly six years since Die Faser (and after numerous manufacturing delays), D'Or is back with all in all. Coming through Svreca's Semantica label, it's another visionary album that cements her status as one of the scene's most intrepid artists.
all in all comprises three four-track chapters: after and before, which reflects a love of orchestra and film music; floor X, a set of mind-bending cuts for DJs; and the diverse and dubby yocta to yotta. With those divisions, it might not have the same cohesion as Die Faser, an album woven through with an instantly recognizable signature. Still, it occupies its own world, one containing D'Or's boldest, most experimental music. after and before's "tomorrow was yesterday" has her trademark pitter-patter percussion driving through choruses of dramatic strings. Spacious and patient, "now is ever" layers wistful piano motifs atop precise, earth-rumbling machinery. It brims with cerebral texture, as does another unconventional track, yocta to yotta's "hecto." A joyful escapade inspired by travels around Asia, "hecto" revels in synthesized Eastern melodies and rhythmic firework pops.
Of course, the album packs plenty of mesmerizing tunes with more direct dance floor appeal. For the aptly titled floor X, D'Or's brand of bleep techno is in full bloom. "XXXIII," "XI" and "XXII" are filled with those distinctive, crystalline tones—suggestive of chirping birds, or some intergalactic siren—that have been mastered only by other rare talents like Ø and Sleeparchive. The steady-growing "XXXIII" and futuristic broken beat of "XXII" unfurl sprawling, acidic riffs alongside their bleep patterns, while "XI" offers a sublime sense of echoing isolation.
"XLIV for Mike" is dedicated to friend and fellow sound obsessive Mike Parker. It's clearly influenced by the Buffalo artist's haunting, minimalist approach, while featuring some of the distinctive airbursts that resonate elsewhere in the album. yocta to yotta's "yotta" is similarly composed. It acts as a dimly lit bridge between "hecto"'s bliss and closers "yocta" and "zepto," two dubby, low-slung productions that bring to mind Milton Bradley's extra-deep early explorations.
Rounding out the expansive album is an ambient CD (set for release in September) that presents many of the LP's key sounds, a few other likeminded pieces, and a longer, spacier "yocta" version. A brief and mellow sidetrip, the 10 tracks, including after and before's title cut and "now and then," total a length of only 25 minutes. But it serves to highlight the painstaking amount of detail and varied influences that D'Or has worked into the album itself, whose straightforward tracks and more abstract fare prove equally absorbing. An ambitious effort like all in all feels like something techno needs.
01. after and before
02. tomorrow was yesterday
03. now and then
04. now is ever
07. XLIV for Mike