- He may be one of Kompakt’s more unsung elder-statesmen, but Frenchman Jonas Bering has a respectable discography behind him. His debut LP Bienfait from 2000 explored the scratchy low-key minimalism prevalent back then, with subsequent productions generally in the classic glossy Kompakt tech-house mode a la SCSI-9 or Thomas/Mayer. He's also one half of duo Nightcats with Thierry Mbaye. His latest for the label is a mixed bag in terms of style and approach, but two out of three are clear winners.
‘Lincoln Road’ returns to the dubby terrain of Bienfait but with eyes fixed squarely on the dancefloor. Rapid 1/16 notes rat-tat-tat beside a fearsome bass-kick hybrid, which steadily throbs and morphs into a looming slab of concrete dub-techno close in spirit to Magnet. There’s none of the acid however, but the minor-keyed synth pad which creeps in like fog makes up it. This is bleak and wonderful stuff.
The title track is the letdown, a restrained tech-pop pseudo-song lumbered with a vocal described by his own PR as amateurish and unpolished. Used sparingly it might possess lo-fi charm, but repeated ad infinitum it sticks in your head like putty. The spiky guitar and what sounds like a Chris Rea break are almost pleasant in a Playhouse way, but nothing really works.
‘Close to Home’ is a different story, an overblown gushing nuumber viewing Cologne minimal through a thick veil of French house. It’s all rather excessive, as synths trail and bleed like the wooziest disco, yet the regimented repetition and use of few elements pull this together stunningly.
Three completely different moods here, and two of them great.
A Lincoln Road
B1 Can't Stop Loving You
B2 Close To Home