- Tobias Freund might be Berlin's most versatile electronic artist. On the one hand, he's got timeless club jams like 2006's "Street Knowledge"; on the other, ultra-subtle ambience like Non Standard Institute Plays Non Standards, his first album with Max Loderbauer as nsi. He sounds equally confident doing both, but his most inspired music falls somewhere in the middle—unbound by the functionality of techno but teeming with its energy and atmosphere. On his albums for Ostgut Ton, he's offset the freeform stuff with straight club tracks. On Helium Sessions, he serves it neat.
Each track here has its own distinctive groove, at tempos ranging from 80 to 175 BPM, but all of them evoke a kind of frothy, swirling motion. On "LAGEOS 1," percussion drifts through the stereo field like debris though a storm, panning heavily over windy drones. The next three tracks send different rhythms through the same gusty landscape: a fiercely strobing drum pattern on "Nucleon," a weightless pulse on "Helios" and a slo-mo chug on "Spectrum V," the only track with a linear backbeat (albeit at 84 BPM). Intentionally or not, the absence of a standard banger seems to make a point: "non standard productions" like these need not be relegated to the B2 of a club record. They do just fine on their own.
A1 LAGEOS 1
B2 Spectrum V