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Sleeparchive – Ronan Point review

A few years ago when the focus shifted from mnml to the classic 90s-inspired sounds of Berghain, Berlin-based artist Roger Semsroth did the unthinkable – he took a hiatus from techno. For the majority of producers involved in electronic dance music, where disposability and short-termism are defining characteristics, thisĀ  move defied logic. It seemed Semsroth had diverted from the record-release-tour-earn money model that is pervasive in all forms of contemporary music. However, the man behind Sleeparchive had merely taken a brief break – and it is quite obvious that for Semsroth, someone who will be around when most of his peers are back doing day jobs, three years is indeed a shortish period.

At a time when all around him tried to outdo one another in the sincere techno stakes, he focused his efforts on making the most willfully noisy, experimental racket possible. Semsroth brings that sense of experimentation to Ronan Point, his comeback techno record. Great waves of noise underscore the rivers of viscous bass and titanium-plated drums that are at the heart of these arrangements. Fused with the kind of austere bleeps that made releases like “Hospital Tracks” such classics, this combination makes a potent dance floor fusion on “Point Two”. “Point Three” is less detailed and its rhythm is inspired by Detroit minimalism rather than the Finnish variant, but bookending this excellent comeback are “One” and “Four”, which present the listener with impenetrable walls of dense, frazzled abstraction. Welcome back you brilliantly awkward bugger.

Richard Brophy