Petermann – Init (Carpal Tunnel)


Despite my best efforts, I haven’t been able to unearth much information surrounding this download-only debut album from Petermann ‘Init’s on the Barcelona-based Carpal Tunnel label, apart from that Petermann serves as the alias for Catalonian electronic producer Anna Xambo, who describes her work as “rough electronic sounds, subtle dissonances and field recordings interleaved into aggressive rhythms and dark ambiences.” Most palpably though, the sense of atmosphere generated amongst the twelve untitled tracks here is one of sparse slow-motion, with the rhythm and textural elements devolved back to just stray traces, evoking a sense perhaps of the ghost of long departed dancefloors. What’s immediately arresting here is the way in which Xambo manages to place textural elements that would otherwise separately be quite abrasive and jarring into a more lulling and hypnotic context.

An apt illustration of this is ‘Init2’s subaquatic crawl through relentlessly clicking half-speed rhythms, sudden menacing machine tones and lurking, phantom-like bass swells, which evokes an atmosphere that’s equally as womblike as it is claustrophobic. Elsewhere, ‘Init3’ leans closer towards Mille Plateaux-esque clicks and cuts terrain, as stray digital pops reflect off a backdrop of almost queasy-sounding melodic swells and the dry crunch of inexorable slow machine rhythms, before ‘Init5’ offers the closest approximation to a danceable pulse here, though in this case, the muted rhythmic backdrone sounds like it’s almost drifting in from the next room, leaving the listener trapped in a treacherous sharp-focus foreground of crunching distorted noise bursts and rumbling polyrhythms. Fans of ultra stripped back, abstracted and devolved techno along the lines of Metamusik and Mille Plateaux’s ‘Clicks ‘N’ Cuts’ series should find much to admire on ‘Init’; an impressive debut that reveals new mirage-like details with each repeated listening.

Chris Downton


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A dastardly man with too much music and too little time on his hands

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