TJ Hertz, the man behind Objekt, is an intriguing producer. Through the numerous works of his projects, the series of EPs and singles, he has illustrated his unique take on IDM and techno. His debut record, Flatland, named after the famous novella Flatland: A Romance of May Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott, showcased a seasoned veteran of the field. Fueled by the energy of electronica, Hertz produced a record that shed light on all aspects of Objekt, while still retaining a tight grasp on the techno dimension.
With his debut record, Hertz explored sonic worlds inherent to electronic music, be it the dance-floor ethics of techno or the polyrhythmic tentacles of IDM. However, his new album Cocoon Crush sees him perform an evolutionary leap. Hertz completely opens up his sound and identity to territories adjacent to the electronic domain. IDM and techno are not the sole participants in this experiment, with the producer throwing into the mix industrial structures, ambient motifs, abstract progressions, and an impressive amount of sound design.
The sound design aspect provides Objekt with a much more organic sound, something that Flatland did not possess. While Hertz reveled on the synthetic tonality of his debut record, here he experiments with a very different approach. Soundscapes become an intrinsic part of the record and they provide an immersive experience with their more organic sound, and the way in which Hertz can craft and bring the different components of his vision together produces an impressive result. There are times in this record where it feels like the sound itself is a living organism, which moves and responds to a series of well placed stimuli. “Dazzle Anew” is an instance of this methodology, with the sound slowly awakening and beginning to contort over the synthetic notes. In a more elusive way, the beats of “Secret Snake” create a playful manifestation, which slithers and transforms through the various twists and turns of this mesmerizing maze.
The facades that this organism takes morph through the various stages of the record. There are times when a more playful approach is at display, with “35” being an example of that mode. The groove becomes intoxicating and the timbre of the synths come in to make this endeavor that much more expressive. In a more gentle manner, “Runaway” produces a delicate touch, which results in the track displaying a certain preciousness regarding its melodic edge. Sounds appear more fragile, almost timid, but the tone they carry produces an ethereal result that makes the track fly. But, these explorations can also take a darker turn, which is what occurs in “Deadlock”, as the bass lines take over. The main theme carries a very heavy tone, with the synth bass leading the way, while little additions to the background complete this impressive sonic collage.
Still, the foundation of this record is Hertz’s ability to salvage and reconfigure some astounding soundscapes from the use of recordings. This tilts the balance of the electronic element of Objekt’s sound, moving the atmosphere away from the electrifying dance floor and into a living jungle of soundscapes. This transformation is performed in steps, with the record kicking things off in a more straightforward manner, and then slowly sheds away its skin, mixing IDM concepts with an ambient methodology.
The start of “Nervous Silk” sees the rise of the ambient perspective for Objekt, creating rich sonic structures with its minimalistic and mysterious progression. “Rest Yr Troubles Over Me” takes on a ritualistic tone and awakens an eerie feeling, especially with the overtones that kick off the track. The sound design aspect is impressive, and Hertz’s leaning towards granular synthesis makes the result that much more interesting, especially when the processed vocals make an appearance, providing the music with an alien dimension. This transformation into the abstract realm is complete when moments like “Silica” arrive, featuring a complete loss of form with the rhythmic component departing and structures becoming invisible. In an even more abstract manner, the closing track “Lost and Found (Found Mix)” sees this trip reaching its end in a sea of noise, before it is ready to restart as an ouroboros.
The title of the record provides an insight as to the process that Objekt has undergone. If Flatlands was the initial state of the project’s existence, the time that passed in between the two records saw Hertz construct this evolutionary shell and undergo an intriguing metamorphosis. Now he is ready to expose the new form of Objekt, and it results in one of the most impressive records of this year.