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TV Victor – GRV Vol 1 review

TV Victor, aka Udo Heitfeld, has been a key figure in the underground Berlin music and art scene for nigh on 25 years. A piano student who developed a fascination with electronic music in the 70s, Hietfeld moved to Berlin in the early 80s and ensconced himself in the city, becoming part of the No Zen Orchestra (along with Tresor founder Dietmar-Maria Hegemann) and started his solo productions in 1990 under the TV Victor moniker. Both his own work and that of the No Zen Orchestra were released on the Interfisch, which was soon to become the parent label of Tresor. Indeed Hietfeld’s association with Tresor continued through the label’s pomp in the 90s, with his sporadic output since then touching on the experimental end of trance, techno and ambient.

All of which brings us to GRV Vol 1 – his first release as TV Victor since 2002’s The Ways Of The Bodies – which offers three stunning slices of ambient techno of varying hues. Released on Tobias Freund’s Non Standard Productions imprint, there’s a subtle, hypnotic groove to the stripped back drums on “130509 6”, which takes up a whole side of wax and chugs along while spooky atmospherics drift in and out of the picture, as if poking their heads around a corner before quickly pulling back. “010709 10B” meanwhile has the strange sensation of standing in the bowels of some vast machine, with a looped drum pattern delivered with a hint of menace and little in the way of diversion. Closer “100609 1C” is a powerful and richly textured piece, with a solitary tribal drum sounding once every bar to a stormy background of synth washes and eerie strings.

Aaron Coultate