- 35 year-old Gregor Tresher is another of the German fraternity. Though he's been DJing since the '90s, the Franconian began producing relatively late, presenting two albums in the early '00s under the name Sniper Mode. More recently, he's become better known for producing functional material for Great Stuff, Ovum and a little for Moon Harbour and Drumcode. Capitalising on the success of his track "A Thousand Nights," Tresher began his record label—Break New Soil—in 2009, presenting The Life Wire LP soon after. All of which brings us to Lights from the Inside, the third album under his own name.
In a word—or rather, a phrase—it's kind of similar to Alan Fitzpatrick's Shadows in the Dark on Drumcode last year, though track-to-track the techniques are quite different. Tresher's attention to melody is much greater, for one. He shows talent in this regard, often stretching short sequences well beyond their life expectancy. For example, at almost ten minutes long, "Leaving" singlehandedly holds up the album's mid-section. Its glassy, somnabulent hook lulls effectively, denying the need for evolution or variation.
The title track's mournful hoots work in much the same fashion, this time accompanied by raspy hi-hats and plastic snares. Elsewhere, there's melodic complexity to be found, too. In "Black Lines," a clockwork, Joel Mull-esque track, flurries of elastic pings are offset with music-box twinkliness. Or "If Only," seven tracks in and two minutes long, which acts as a haunting interlude prior to the album's banging conclusion. Tresher adeptly balances these musical moments with the more bodily, creating a rounded album which discourages cherrypicking.
For most producers, passable narration and a good handle on melody would likely ensure success. Strangely, it's Tresher's unimaginative percussion which devalues Lights from the Inside most. The bland programming could easily be forgiven, but the sample-pack-sounding drum hits and hi-hats are harder. More than anything, the album shows what could have been, rather than what is. It's a perplexing conclusion for a producer on his fifth album, and yet one that's been expressed vaguely before. There's no denying Tresher's skill, nor his determination to produce more than mundane chart bangers. Moments of musicality—even if they're not the most inventive—and a lack of arbitrary bass drops are evidence of that. Sadly, it feels like he's striving only to avoid mediocrity, rather than aim for true uniqueness.
01. Shadow Layers
02. Lights from the Inside
03. Kingdom of Light
05. Black to Zero
07. If Only
09. Through the Shadow Glass
10. Breaking Routines
11. As Days Go By