- Carl Craig's first record of 2018 is a collaboration with an Argentinian band that's been making electronic music for as long as he has. He got together with Klauss, the pioneering electro-acoustic act founded in 1988, for a spontaneous jam session at their studio in Buenos Aires last year. From their three-hour encounter came these two tracks, both over ten minutes long, that pair modular synth improvisations with cosmic guitar licks. They're both extremely repetitive, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. When it comes to techno, repetition can work one of two ways: either you find a loop so delicious that it doesn't matter how long it plays, or you make something enchanting and hypnotic from the effect of the looping itself. Neither happens on Momentum.
For a record with a Moog modular on its cover, the synth textures don't actually have much personality. On the title track, the main synth patch is unremarkable, looping for the whole 13 minutes with almost none of the filter or waveform modulations that could bring it to life. The ethereal melodies and sound effects in the background are more interesting from a sound design perspective, but without a strong foundation they end up feeling superficial. The kick drum is just as flat as the lead synth, without the low-end power you'd expect from a big-room DJ tool or the textural depth that could lend the track color. Given that it's the only drum on the whole 23 minutes of audio here, you'd think they would have been more attentive to it.
Built on an uncompelling one-measure melody, "Repeat After Me" suffers from the same problem. It also lacks any transformative arc. There's an inflection point just before the six-minute mark where everything else drops out and the filter finally starts to modulate in some interesting ways, but ten seconds later it reverts back to the same setting. As with "Momentum," there's some detailed sound design in the background, with generously textured pads, vamping guitars and nimble percussive flourishes. But they're not enough to save it, and as striking as those elements may be, they end up feeling like the icing on an otherwise tasteless cake.
B Repeat After Me