[5 January 2009]
Starting with a vintage recording of a woman castigating an upper-class idler over a buoyant melody that recalls the hipper side of Mouse on Mars’ Iaora Tahiti, Efdemin’s first mix CD, Carry On, Pretend We Are Not in the Room, takes us through a succinct survey of groovy, idiosyncratic minimal techno. Efdemin (a.k.a. Philip Sollman from Berlin) dug deeply into the crates for this one: a number of the artists are familiar, but their tracks are so obscure that they’ll be brand new to quite a number of ears. That alone might have been enough for the minimal techno faithful, who salivate over the idea of rarities, but it’s the manner in which Efdemin weaves it all together that lends Carry On its stateliness and specialness.
Spanning over a decade and evoking such labels as Planet E (Craig Alexander’s “Soul Revival”), Basic Channel (Minilogue’s “Doiicie (A)”) and Force Tracks (Tony Foster’s “It’s All Around Us”), this set could have ended up as bric-a-brac were it not for Efdemin’s deft hand at the mixing desk. He knows how long to let transitions last and when to attempt an interesting contrast over straight seamlessness, and smartly treats extended vocal samples—hand-selected or included within the songs themselves—as the body’s connective tissue. (The taut film dialogue and searing music that fuses Pigon’s “Kamm” with Photek’s “T’Raenon” is spine-tingling.) The result is a satisfyingly varied sonic document that belongs to no particular time or place, with a widescreen, cinematic quality that juxtaposes with its ever-so-slight paranoid claustrophobia. If it lacks the knockout punch of similar mixes by quality producers (Andrew Weatherall’s Hypercity, for one), it’s only because Carry On prefers to creep, much in the vein of Efdemin’s eponymous debut from 2007. In fact, Carry On provides an additional lens through which to view and appreciate Efdemin’s own material.