Hiltmeyer, Inc.: Sendling 70

Tim O'Neil

If I press the Mega Bass button on my CD player the tracks become almost totally obscured under the cacophonous low-end rumble.


Sendling 70

Display Artist: Hiltmeyer, Inc.
Label: Gomma
US Release Date: 2005-05-03
UK Release Date: 2005-02-07
Amazon affiliate

There is something wonderfully sleazy about Hiltmeyer, Inc. The music sounds a little bit retro but not terribly so, successfully melding a number of influences into something not quite old but still refreshingly familiar. This is techno music pared down to its libido: menacing synthesizers, crisply indolent 808 drum beats, spare bits of electro and disco applied purely for ornament. If I press the Mega Bass button on my CD player the tracks become almost totally obscured under the cacophonous low-end rumble: the sound of Godzilla getting horny.

The man behind the sound is Alex Andre Hofmann, a German of American descent who created his sound after being exposed to a wide variety of European dance. The Hiltmeyer project, while ostensibly techno, is eclectic enough in its approach to accommodate a multitude of styles. It all ends up sounding rather decadent and diabolical, in any event.

The album kicks off with "Narcotic", built on a fat bassline that reminds me of what Sticky Fingers-era Stones would sound like on the Bizarro world. Every sound, from the sweeping synthesizers to the vocal snippets, is engineered in such a way that it sounds like rough, crushed-velvet sex. "Pornhaus", as you might expect from the title, keeps the sexual connotations high with a faux-disco bassline redolent of -- what else? -- late '70s boom-chica-chica-boom porn soundtracks.

"S7" ups the tempo -- consequently dropping the sex appeal considerably -- with a bit of a classic house sound. The implacable mid-tempo beat, the gradually cresting synthesizer arpeggio, even the weird horn squeaks all contribute to the time-warp sensation. "Finalahh" continues the previous track's preoccupation with droning melody lines by introducing a low-key 303 acid line. Whereas the more high-pitched tweakin' acid line carry psychedelic connotations, the low rumble that carried through "Finalhh", like Death In Vegas' "Scorpio", is definitely once again a reminder of sex.

"Synthipopü", just as it says, looks back fondly at the synthesized pop of the '80s. However, whereas many producers have adapted the surface characteristics of the period, Hofmann seems to understand, even without the benefit of words, that the real appeal of most synthpop was not so much the sound but the mood: arch, elegiac, and ironically majestic. "Hillygirl" uses a fast, almost drum & bass tempo to bring the techno elements into a less vitiated atmosphere. It comes across like a Luke Vibert (circa Drum & Bass For Papa) remix of "Hey Ya", albeit with a bit less whimsy than that would immediately suggest.

"Rockabill" continues in the higher tempo with a ragged, debauched bassline torn across the length of the track. It doesn't really go anywhere -- but then, a lot of Hofmann's tracks could legitimately be said to be more concerned with mood than structure. "Valleybass" sends the album off on a sinister note, a violent beat coupled with a frenetic melody line and space war 303 riffs. It sounds like a Martian invasion played at half-speed.

It would be easy to criticize Hiltmeyer, Inc. for placing style over substance. His songwriting skills are minimal, serving only as pretence to showcase different moods and textures. However, in the context of an occasionally deracinated techno scene, such an emphasis on sensuality and visceral behavior is refreshing.






'World War 3 Illustrated #51: The World We Are Fighting For'

World War 3 Illustrated #51 displays an eclectic range of artists united in their call to save democracy from rising fascism.


Tiphanie Doucet's "You and I" Is an Exercise in Pastoral Poignancy (premiere)

French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet gives a glimpse of her upcoming EP, Painted Blue, via the sublimely sentimental ode, "You and I".


PM Picks Playlist 3: WEIRDO, Psychobuildings, Lili Pistorius

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of WEIRDO, Brooklyn chillwavers Psychobuildings, the clever alt-pop of Lili Pistorius, visceral post-punk from Sapphire Blues, Team Solo's ska-pop confection, and dubby beats from Ink Project.

By the Book

The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species (excerpt)

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This excerpt of Marianne Taylor's The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species explores in text and photos the tiny but powerful earthling, the virus.

Marianne Taylor

Exploitation Shenanigans 'Test Tube Babies' and 'Guilty Parents' Contend with the Aftermath

As with so many of these movies about daughters who go astray, Test Tube Babies blames the uptight mothers who never told them about S-E-X. Meanwhile, Guilty Parents exploits poor impulse control and chorus girls showing their underwear.


Deftones Pull a Late-Career Rabbit Out of a Hat with 'Ohms'

Twenty years removed from Deftones' debut album, the iconic alt-metal outfit gel more than ever and discover their poise on Ohms.


Arcade Fire's Will Butler Personalizes History on 'Generations'

Arcade Fire's Will Butler creates bouncy, infectious rhythms and covers them with socially responsible, cerebral lyrics about American life past and present on Generations.


Thelonious Monk's Recently Unearthed 'Palo Alto' Is a Stellar Posthumous Live Set

With a backstory as exhilarating as the music itself, a Thelonious Monk concert recorded at a California high school in 1968 is a rare treat for jazz fans.


Jonnine's 'Blue Hills' Is an Intimate Collection of Half-Awake Pop Songs

What sets experimental pop's Jonnine apart on Blue Hills is her attention to detail, her poetic lyricism, and the indelibly personal touch her sound bears.


Renegade Connection's Gary Asquith Indulges in Creative Tension

From Renegade Soundwave to Renegade Connection, electronic legend Gary Asquith talks about how he continues to produce infectiously innovative music.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.


Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.


Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.