Gregor Tresher - The Life Wire

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  • Soon after the release of his debut Great Stuff album, A Thousand Nights, Frankfurt producer and DJ Gregor Tresher was named "Best Producer" for the second year running by German magazine Raveline. In the following months, though, Tresher limited himself to various remixing assignments for the likes of James Flavour, Adultnapper, Delete and Karotte as well as pulling the strings behind Monika Kruse's first album. After being away from the limelight, 2009 sees him coming back not only with a new full length, but also with his own imprint, Break New Soil Recordings. But contrary to what the label's name would want you to believe, Tresher's latest sonic incarnations aren't trying to cover new grounds as much as capitalizing on previous realizations. The Life Wire, as the title suggests, aims at telescoping the lively and animated with the technological and calculated. From Aphex Twin and his computers having nervous breakdowns to Booka Shade taking cues from both the sun and the neon lights, it is one of dance music's most referred-to clichés. But unlike past efforts, Tresher seems to have a hard time here giving his productions the vibrant physicality such an aim would entail. Sub-Solomun tech house cuts such as "Nothing for Granted" and "Plutonian Shores" are too generic to meet the standards he has accustomed us to; when the album jumps the house and techno rails and starts playing with breakbeat motifs, like on album opener "Ghosts" and "Days for Minor Keys," it simply comes across as ill-advised. And "Fire on Fire," as convincing as it is, probably sounds too much like Anthony Rother for its own good. It isn't all mundane. Both the title track and "Awaking Life Inside," for instance, are built around the type of ascending, cascading melodies Tresher once gracefully displayed on Beatport chart-topper "A Thousand Nights"; the latter even adds some ornamental pads that only strengthen its vulnerable yet heartwarming feel. Album closer "The Heartbeat Orchestra" is even better, succeeding at being both anthemic and delicate. The fact that these tracks are among the album's longest is telling: Tresher is at his best when he allows himself to take us on the proverbial journey and takes time to set the mood. The album also has at least one truly surprising moment: On "The Very End" Tresher makes use of a vocalist to enthusiastic effect. It's the type of electro house Great Stuff is known for, but it reconciles it (albeit unsurprisingly) with the producer's own '80s synth-pop roots, a vein that Tresher should clearly explore further in the future. That said, there is a certain air of immobility about The Life Wire. Most of the tracks leave you exactly where you started, thus leaving you with the impression that new grounds haven't been broken after all.
  • Tracklist
      01. Ghosts 02. The Very End 03. Escape to Amsterdam 04. The Life Wire 05. Nothing For Granted 06. 1982 07. Fire on Fire 08. Awaking Life Inside 09. Plutonian Shores 10. Days for Minor Keys 11. Black Six Survival 12. For Years to Come 13. The Heartbeat Orchestra