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Mike Dehnert – Framework review

Mike Dehnert and his Fachwerk and MD2 labels have been at the forefront of 90s-inspired techno for the past few years – but will his consistently high strike rate translate to a long player? Thankfully, Dehnert sticks to what he knows best, resisting the ill-advised urge to position himself as a versatile all-rounder. Apart from the brief, abstract “Intro”, the dreamy ambience of “Kontextfrei” and the hissing static noise of “Outro”, the album centres on the dancefloor, but manages to avoid repetition.

Indeed, Dehnert fans expecting rehashes of the dense, dubby Fachwerk releases may be surprised by Framework, but those who have followed his releases on MD2 and his “Many Roots” release on Deeply Rooted House will notice that his approach to the dancefloor is broadening. So while the dubby bass, scuffled beats and clanging percussion of “Infix” is indicative of the Berlin producer’s abeyance to the Basic Channel/Chain Reaction axis, Framework widens his scope; “Beatmatching” is an uplifting vocal-sample heavy groove and this new-found playfulness is also audible on the rave riff sampling “Teilfolge” and the purring bassline and synth melodies of “Quattro”.

However, Dehnert moves quickly to dispel any doubts that he is mellowing out, but does so in an unexpected manner: the title track, fuelled by snappy, Klock-style percussion, is more pumping than is his wont, “Klartext” sounds like an update of Dan Bell minimalism, reinforced with industrial rhythms and an extra layer of claps, while “Pallindrome” is his most intense track yet, a dense wall of sound and visceral bass building into a droning, acidic meltdown. Dehnert may be operating in a new format, but Framework proves that when it comes to techno functionalism, he is peerless.

Richard Brophy