Back in the noughties, Berlin-based electronic producer T. Raumschmiere (real name Marco Haas) was infamous for both his eclectic Shitkatapult label and his serrated, rockist antics on albums such as ‘Radio Blackout’ and ‘I Tank You’, his deployment of the distorted and overdriven ‘knarz’ sound becoming one of his most distinctive trademarks as both a producer and remixer. Following a seven year long absence from the scene, T. Raumschmiere’s 2015 self-titled album saw him returning with a considerably different sound, its tracks leaning far more towards ambient and downtempo textures than his earlier, more ferocious work.
It’s a development that this latest album ‘Heimat’ (which sees him returning to the Kompakt label after 15 years) continues, though there’s definitely more of a propulsive techno-centred pulse running through the eight expansive and deeply immersive tracks collected here. If there’s a predominant mood running through this album, it sits somewhere between melodic, deeply nostalgic techno and gorgeous widescreen ambience, to the point where it’s sometimes hard to tell where one part leaves off and the other begins.
‘Amina’ starts proceedings tentatively at first in what’s easily the most downbeat track here, as ghostly piano keys ebb against the repeated loop of a vinyl runout groove, only for eerie B-movie sci-fi synths to gradually snake out of the undergrowth, adding an eerily ominous vibe as dry, clicking snares rise into the foreground against what sounds like a distantly strummed instrument. From there though, ‘Jaguar’ sees the propulsive 4/4 rhythms locking straight in against proggy synth arpeggios and sweeping pads, the addition of chaotic volleys of rapid-fire electronics adding an undercurrent of tension that nicely undercuts the majestic orchestral-synth backdrop and sheeny, streamlined surfaces in a manner that suggests some malfunctioning machine.
In many senses, ‘Le Fux’ offers the most tangible links here to T. Raumschmiere’s earlier work, but in this case the fuzzed out bassline is given a far more ghostly and nebulous feel thanks to the loose percussive clicks, glitchy crackles and lazy piano loops that orbit around it, giving the entire a far more dreamily laidback feel even though robust 4/4 kicks sit at its core. By the time you’ve reached ‘Wacker’, you’ve arrived at what’s easily the deeply immersive and emotive techno highpoint of this album as hypnotically swinging hi-hats glide alongside lush, swelling orchestration, dubbed out background percussion and dark muted horn stabs. One of this year’s biggest techno albums, easily.