Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Pong – Senking

I wonder if Jens Massel knows what a ‘pong’ is to us Brits – don’t suppose he cares. Apparently the title refers to a ‘classic video game’, but if you think that signals a collection of retro-bleeps and whacky, playful noises, think again.
   This LP is downbeat but far from depressing; the grooves are too deep and squelchy for that. Imagine the hoover sounds of ye olde D&B cleaned up and smeared all over tunes bearing minimal beats. They move in such a way as to liquidise the music, like lava rolling across a sparse landscape. This is best illustrated on ‘Low Flow’, funnily enough. There are lighter counterpoints, as in the vibraphone/piano sound on ‘Luma’. The acoustic touches may only be impressionistic but in their simplicity they’re very effective.
   Things get a bit lively on ‘Breathing Trouble’, but to his great credit, Massel only skirts around such formulaic genres as Techno or Dubstep. ‘V8’ is a master class in proving that less is more (pretty much the maxim by which he operates). A drum pattern does kick in, but only after 3mins of stalking through John Carpenter territory. For this assault on the precincts of our senses Massel operates a fantastic sub-bass machine which, I like to imagine, looks like something built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, all iron girders and huge bolts. He certainly gets maximum use out of it. Some might say it’s overused, but if you love it, as I do, the fact that it defines the sound of the album is a big bonus. It’s currently competing with workmen drilling next door and a road digger outside...and winning.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I haven't listened to this guy since something like 99! He was in monster bass mode back then too... But this sounds better. Nice.

    Re: the name, he did have a release called 'Ping', which may not come into play...


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