German electronic producer Christian Kleine is perhaps best known for his early noughties association with the seminal City Centre Offices label alongside the likes of Ulrich Schnauss and frequent collaborator Thaddeus Herrmann, and he’s remained prolific, self-releasing four albums over the last seven years. On the heels of last year’s download only ‘Stokes’ album, this latest collection on A Strangely Isolated Place ‘Music From The Lost World’ sees Kleine going back through old DAT tapes to rescue tracks recorded during 1998-2001 that never previously saw the light of day.
From the very outset there’s a lot that immediately sonically dates these eleven tracks to the period spanning 1998-2001, particularly the focus upon breakbeats and the sorts of melancholic downbeat IDM explorations also being explored around the same time by labels like n5MD and Morr Music. Opening track ‘Promise’ certainly evokes the downbeat pop-kissed aesthetic of the latter label as delicately chiming chord progressions drift against rattling hiphop-tinged drum breaks, the soft-focus pads that waft in the background adding a dreamy feel as the entire track drifts along at its own lazy pace.
‘Computer Error’ meanwhile sees scraping metallic rhythms building up in layers until they become a throbbing house-tinged 4/4 pulse that glides against treated guitar bends, murmuring sampled voices and gaseous synth sweeps, and there’s a distinct sense that in this case the rhythms are more geared towards a slow pan over a shimmering sunset, than anything approaching a dancefloor.
In contrast, ‘City Nights’ gets more stripped-down and tech-y, sending spidery breakbeats snapping against lush ambient pads and ripples of arpeggiated synths while dub-delay effects sweep the richocheting snares off in different directions, fusing an underlying motorik feel with the sort of late nineties ambient-house aesthetic you’d associate with Global Communication. Elsewhere, ‘Sun Star’ sees the folktronica elements rising to the forefront as gentle flecks of guitar ebb against brittle-sounding broken rhythms and refracted synth melodies, before ‘Stuttr Rye’ takes things off an IDM-kissed post-junglist wander that sees blurred bell-like tones adding a dreamlike undercurrent to the sharp-focus breakbeats that arc and stutter beneath them.
While many of these tracks have invariably dated over the ensuing two decades that have passed since they were recorded, there’s still plenty here to captivate fans of classic melodic IDM along the lines of ISAN and Ruxpin.