Karen Gwyer - Man On Mountain

  • Inventive modern techno.
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  • Karen Gwyer hasn't released a solo record since 2017's Rembo, an LP that cemented her place as a unique voice in modern techno. The Berlin resident and Michigan native combines a love of machine sounds with an ear for rhythmic and textural invention. Her admiration for the "achingly beautiful synth work" of melodic techno pioneers like Claude Young and Drexciya shines through on her releases. Even her most straightforward techno tracks have a complex musicality that few contemporary artists can match. Man On Mountain feels like a development of the ideas behind Rembo. "Faces On Ankles" is exactly the kind of techno Gwyer is so good at making—intricate and clever, while still being insistent and physical. She uses complex offbeat kick drum patterns to throw the listener off the meter at points, but doesn't overuse them, making for a weird and ear-catching dance floor track. "Cherries On Shoulders" is the highlight, a journey through a series of unexpected turns. It begins as gritty hardware techno, becomes something more relaxed and melodic as harmonic layers build, before eventually finding itself as a groovy house track. The two beatless pieces are well worth a spin, particularly "Ribbon On Neck"—it's not often you hear an ambient track with a groovy bassline as the standout feature. From release to release, you can hear a constant evolution in Gwyer's music, as she tests out new ideas and methods. Somehow it manages to remain unmistakably her own.
  • Tracklist
      A1 Faces On Ankles A2 Ian On Fire B1 Cherries On Shoulders B2 Ribbon On Neck