Quantec - Unusual Signals
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Unusual Signals

Although he's put out a handful of 12" releases on the Styrax Leaves and Wavetec labels, Unusual Signals is the debut full-length from German Sven Schienhammer (aka Quantec).The ten track, seventy-plus minute album is pretty much just what you'd expect from the Echocord label (which has released work by Mikkel Metal and others), as it floats through a cloudy haze of melted-down dub influences and tons of warm resonance and reverb.

When you're taking about music of this sort, there's a fine line that separates the great stuff from the not-quite-as-great stuff, and like any music that line is somewhat subjective. By definition, most minimal techno and ambient dub is fairly repetitive, but Quantec certainly takes that to extremes. In most cases, the melodic structure of a track is build from a single melodic line, which is repeated for the duration (or close to it). "Amanita Muscaria" and "Deliberate" open the release and feature four and two-note melodies respectively, which are then tweaked and bent with spatial and delay effects while rhythmic changes build in around and over the top of them in undulating ways.

"Unusual Signals / Reversion" and "Unusual Signals / Xeric Dub" are variations on the same theme and sound fittingly similar, but it's during the mid point of the album where things really get sort of deja vu. Both "Panaleous" and "Sector" arrive and play out with almost the same notes melodically (and largely the same resonance patches) as the opening track of the release, and while they offer different beat programming, Unusual Signals begins to really work itself into needless feedback loop. In some places, as on the crackling, overdriven closer of "2082," Quantec really sounds like it's going somewhere new, but unfortunately a lot of the other time it's a bit stuck in a rut. It certainly has the mood down, but keeping up with Modell and Co (or even matching the timeless work by Wolfgang Voigt as Gas) takes a bit more dynamics and variety. Unusual Signals is nice in places, but not nearly up there with the aforementioned.

rating: 610
Aaron Coleman 2008-06-26 20:51:52