- In the midst of a respectably prolific year, Tresor resident Mike Dehnert briefly steps away from his own Fachwerk label to kick off Clone's new Basement Series imprint. The EP features three variations on "Umlaut2," a potent, reduced wall-shaker that first appeared on a split with Roman Landau last year. Anyone who missed that tough, clean techno gem, or the MDRL EP that housed it, should take note of Clone's interest and do a little back-catalog research. Dehnert doesn't just have a signature style, he doggedly pursues a single sonic idea with the detail and care of a specialist. With that in mind, there's plenty to elevate this collection of alternate versions above the "supplemental text" category.
A sturdy "New Version" opens the set, submerging the original track's crisp synths in sudsy pools of delay, and replacing the stair-step melody with dazed oscillation. Where the MDRL version suggested steady incline, "New Version" plunges downward. Another notable difference is the teeter-totter drums that sit high in the mix. It seems, though, that this isn't a new addition, but a return to an earlier idea, as this tick-tock effect appears on the following "First Version" as well. The elevating micro-melody is back, sounding much the same as it did on MDRL. In fact, overall, "First Version" cuts quite close to the version of "Umlaut2" originally pressed.
The EP's third track, then, is something of a jolt, with Novel Sound head Levon Vincent called in for remix honors. He slows the tempo, but basically retains the structure of Dehnert's track. Wild divergences in the sound palette, however, make all the difference. Vincent replaces Dehnert's bare-bones synths with an invigorating barrage of cheap horns, while percussive burps of what sound like treated vocals pop out of the arrangement whack-a-mole style. Gaudy, peculiar and irresistibly funky, it variously brings to mind Yello's "Oh Yeah," Eric B & Rakim's "To the Listeners" and DJ Koze's "Dr. Fuck." And if that doesn't pique your interest, I don't even know you anymore.
A1 Umlaut2 (New Version)
A2 Umlaut2 (First Version)
B Umlaut2 (Levon Vincent's NY Basement Mix)