- Experimental techno at its most forceful and refined.
- SØS Gunver Ryberg can make electrifying techno, brutal industrial noise, and intriguing sound art, but it's her ability to blur the line between each that makes her music so exciting. Holly Dicker's 2016 interview with the Danish producer gave us an insight into the mind of an artist and academic on a mission for sonic perfection and self-improvement. Sound installations, theatre commissions, video game soundtracks, research and field-recording trips to South Korea and Svalbard—it's far from the biography of your average dance music producer. She's arrived at techno by a very different trajectory to most artists, and it shows.
Before any high-profile releases, it was Ryberg's live sets that generated so much interest, particularly her appearances at Berlin Atonal and an Objekt-curated Boiler Room in 2014 (she admitted that she'd never heard of Objekt or Boiler Room when she got the invitation to play). The challenge for artists like Ryberg is translating the excitement and energy of a live set, inherently raw and improvisational, into recorded form. So far, Ryberg has managed to pull it off fairly well. On Entangled, a mini-LP of six tracks and four short sound experiments, she succeeds again.
It's her most varied release so far, and apart from her contribution to a split EP on Paula Temple's Noise Manifesto it includes her most open embrace of conventional techno. There are tracks that distill perfectly the sound of her live sets at their most approachable and kinetic. "Palacelike Timescale Of Black" and "Levitation" combine twitchy, excitable rhythms with dub techno haze and drones. It's a rare example of Ryberg allowing dance music sensibilities to overshadow her experimental tendencies, and it sounds great.
Beneath the album's harsh noise and unrelenting tension is a refined and carefully considered approach. "Trispider" is Ryberg at her most terrifying and unhinged. But the subdued, gorgeous ambience of tracks like "The Presence_Eurydike" shows an ability to use silence and empty space just as effectively as noise and claustrophobia. One of the impressive things about AFTRYK, her first solo release, was the way Ryberg sustained tension, never letting it break or subside. A keen sense of pacing and progression allows her to do this. Here she applies this same skill to ambient works and more melodic tracks like "Magnetic Force," introducing restraint and sensitivity without compromising on drama.
Throughout her career, Ryberg has explored music at its most physical. As she explained to The Quietus last year, "I really seek out those frequencies that go into your body and resonate." You can hear this approach clearly on noise releases like "AFTRYK" and the intense percussive workouts on last year's SOLFALD, both designed to be heard at bone-rattling volumes. Entangled might feel at points like a step back from these extremes, but it also shows that Ryberg doesn't need to rely on volume and bass vibration to elicit physical response. At different points Entangled manages to be hair-raising, punishing and caressing. It's an immersive piece of music from one of contemporary techno's most adventurous producers.
01. Palacelike Timescale Of Black
02. Spacelike Orphan
04. The Presence_Eurydike
05. Quantum Skull
08. Magnetic Force
10. Silver Thread