- As Timoka, Benjamin Kilchhofer's melodic electronica was pleasant but overly manicured. Now working under his own name, the Basel artist has kept the downcast mood and found a much more sophisticated way of expressing it. Using modular synths, physical modelling and non-standard rhythms, he seems to have dreamed up his own strain of folk music on Dersu. There are shades of another sort of folk-forgery, that of the Diskant crew, in "Lefu" and "Chanka," whose elliptical rhythms are laced with birdcall FX. On "Bittern," percussion ripples over a speedy kick pulse in ways that suggest live drummers following age-old traditions. But in contrast to Don't DJ and co., who place the focus squarely on rhythm, Kilchhofer's world is fuzzier and given to rich swells of ambience. The wateriest moments are often the most beautiful, particularly "Laar," whose dappled bell-tones and woodwind-like chords imply a kind of synthetic jazz.
Dersu's length and subtlety makes it tough to prise open, but it's worth the effort. Kilchhofer's style is energetic but not overbearing, melodic but not saccharine, spanning from the furtive "Amba" to the firmer techno of "Tau." Even the latter, the straightest track here, sounds strange and beguiling. The EP closes with "Klamm," whose breathy chords flutter with a delicacy unusual in electronic music. Kilchhofer has conjured a world that follows its own strange rules.