Since its immaculate conception at the hands of Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus at Basic Channel in Berlin, minimalistic dub techno has not really changed much. In a way, it hasn´t had to. There is something both existentially primal and alluringly futurist about it that hooks those who incline toward rhythmic bass music. The German scene blossomed and pollinated fields afar. Varying atmospheric nuances aside, the sound basically remained the same, with greater and lesser success determined by the skill and vision of the artist. And why shouldn´t a genre remain repetitive in an age of endless replication? There have, however, as always, been artists who creep ever closer to the edge, like Monolake, Japan´s Mantis, Dubkasm, and Zzzzra, just to grab a handful of personal favourites.
Broadwalk Tales, the third album by Fluxion (K. Soublis), opens with ´Broadwalk´, the strut of a wide boy down the boardwalk with city dust on his pants cuffs and the late afternoon sun shining too directly into his eyes. Immediately following, Teddy Selassie´s song ´Change´ is messianically reassuring. The alternating currents of slow-footed instrumentals and treated vocal tracks quickly brings to mind the classic Showcase collection by Rhythm & Sound w/Tikiman, although the instrumentals are not versions, but stand-alone pieces (with the exception of the finale, where ´Everyday [Original Version]´ gives extended thanks and praise, while Fluxion radically ambientizes Selassie´s song on ´Every Other Day´).
Fluxion´s instrumental work is far richer than Rhythm & Sounds´ was ever intended. Selassie´s song material oscillates between spiritual messages to fellow believers and outpourings of heartache and betrayal (´Let Down´, ´You Don´t Know´), and Soublis deploys Selassie as much more than just a lyrics delivery system. “I wanted to make something more than the usual dub techno tracks with a hint of manipulated voices every now and then. Teddy Selassie came in and gave a breath to the whole material, made it more alive, broadening the journey.” It is indeed broadening – side-by-side, the songs of Selassie and Fluxion make palpable the tension between the personal and the universal. In context, even the instrumental tracks explore a multivalent world both ominous (´Expansion´) and benign (the almost honky-tonk piano of ´Momento´).
Fluxion´s music is a paragon of thinking person´s dub techno, displaying great handicraft and an impeccable ear for background detail that is too intriguing to remain in the background.