One-time Milli Vanilli engineer mobilizes his vintage drum machines.
Tobias Freund has been on the German music scene since the 1980s, when he was an engineer for the sham dance-pop act Milli Vanilli. Leaning Over Backwards, his first album under his own name, is something else entirely. Based on the muffled, fuzzy rumbling of vintage Roland and Boss drum machines, this is techno music with subtle dynamics and few compromises. An occasional bit of a hip-hop groove works its way in, but most of these tracks intimidate more than they engage. The obvious exception is closing track "Now I Know", a beautiful bit of ambient spookiness featuring the voice of Hercules & Love Affair's Aerea Negrot that makes you wish Freund had called off the drum machine dogs a bit more often.