Johanna Knutsson, Karen Gwyer – Oscillate Tracks 003 (Oscillate Tracks)


Launched right at the end of last year, Oscillate Tracks is a new label founded by the collective behind Berlin’s regular Oscillate event series, and in the wake of previous releases from co-founders Roza Terenzi and D. Tiffany, this third volume in their ongoing self-titled 12” EP series arrives as a split release between Berlin-based residents Johanna Knutsson and Karen Gwyer, with each contributing two new tracks respectively.

Johanna Knutson’s half of this EP is definitely its more techno-oriented side, with her opening track ‘Hassel’ teasing chaotically melodic tones from meticulously filtered and delayed synth sequences that waver and lurch against a rattling backbone of metallic snares, the sudden slowdowns to a woozy crawl that occur midway through offering something of a unsettling surprise the first time through.

‘Lysmossa’ meanwhile offers up what was easily my favourite track here as tribal techno rhythms propel things off like a dark train as eerie chime-like tones glide against rattling shakers, ominous whirring ambience and muscular 4/4 kickdrums – as a slice of late night dancefloor fuel, it’s pretty spectacular, yet beautifully understated.

On her side Karen Gwyer opts for more IDM-centred territory, with her opening ‘The Way You Drive’ calling to mind hints of Polygon Window as fluttering breakbeats snap against rippling arpeggiated synth sequences and murmuring bass pads, though there’s a noticeably drum-heavy edge to the twitching undercarriage of crashes and kicks.

By contrast, ‘Caught You’ sees Gwyer dropping the pace down a few notches as rattling snares cling to swirling phased ambient synths, the spidery rhythms cutting a strong contrast to the liquid melodies that flow beneath them. Consistently strong stuff that marks out Oscillate Tracks as a label to keep an eye on.


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