- Steadily decreasing CD sales have done nothing to stem the tide of long-playing dance albums. With the entire industry in its death throes, apparently, this growing phenomenon is truly baffling. Meanwhile the fuss over what makes a good dance album continues. Something of a consensus has formed coherence, home-suited listening, and thematic concepts are the true virtues of good dance albums, although when applied to other genres these values are seen as pretentious and indulgent.
It’s difficult to determine Dominik Eulberg’s stance on this. He's a bird watcher and park ranger when not making techno, and these well-documented details lend themselves easily to conceptual flourish. Flora and Fauna, his debut for Traum, nailed that label’s dreamy aesthetic with its title and cover art alone, and his follow-up Hemische Gefilde went further by inserting short passages of birdsong between the familiar synthetic chugs. With Bionik he's evidently keen on expressing his digital side, possibly a pre-requisite on Sven Vath's Cocoon, but that's as coherent as this collection gets.
Despite winning moments Bionik suffers, like so many albums, from context confusion, with mood, tempo and aggression pitched midway between dancefloor and bedroom. It is too restrained to truly excite yet too noisy to calmly enjoy. A lot of it sounds like microhouse circa 2001—Auch, Farben, Sutekh, or indeed early Eulberg—with less skitter and heavier drums. 'Der Traum Vom Fliegen' opens to billowing clouds of Pop Ambient seductiveness before the percussion modestly takes hold. 'Freche Fruchte' lets anxious steam jets and metallic screeches offset equally precious tone arrangements. 'Haifischflugel' lazily scatters pebbles across marimbas while a floor-tom violently bangs, 'Autopfoten' weaves garbled stutter around woodblocks, rock drums and the crunching of leaves underfoot, and 'Libellenwellen' gathers all these elements in micro-doses, building them into a form of Traum pseudo-trance, minus crescendo. These gushing moments recur throughout, but never make a grand entrance; they're usually subsumed by the processed organic samples, crushed and maimed into incoherent, yet pretty, aural funk.
Individually there's little here to criticise, but en masse it seems somewhat superfluous. Nothing on Bionik equals what Eulberg can do with a 12"; 'NGC 101' for example, off his latest workout with regular collaborator Gabriel Ananda, is absurdly simple and hugely rewarding. The tracks on Bionik meanwhile seem awkward and overworked, a haphazardly assembled collection of the more 'finished' moments from Eulberg's harddrive. Stick to his 12-inches, or his never-dull live sets.
1 Der Traum Vom Fliegen
2 Freche Früchte