Achterbahn D’Amour – Odd Movements
Acid Test surely stands as one of the most reliable outposts for high-quality continuations of the exploratory path started by Phuture with “Acid Tracks”. The offshoot of Absurd Recordings has been careful in its selection of artists they choose to represent on the label, making smart choices in the likes of Pepe Bradock and Tin Man for results that take the much loved and well-trodden 303 into pastures new, which is no mean feat more than twenty five years after it first cast its squelching shadow over dance music.
Achterbahn D’Amour, the duo made up of Edit Piafra and Iron Curtis, have been one of the major forces on Acid Test with a string of singles that move both producers away from broader deep house fare into the seductive world of atmospheric analogue techno. While their singles for the label were already welcome contributions, this debut album for the project gives both artists the chance to delve deep into their venture and test a few of its limits to great effect.
An ethereal tone hovers over much of the album, from the mysterious one-chord pad on “Teen Sleep” to the dreamy tones that inject some optimism into “My Demands”, but for every harmonious touch there is a nasty swipe to maintain the balance in the record. “Jaws Of J.O.Y”, for example, takes an obtuse route into lo-fi sonics that sees the drums and synths buried under a film of dust with room only for the bassline to punch through, while “Holy Romance Empire” takes a raw approach with dry drums and little in the way of textures and atmospherics to fill in the gaps. It’s a bold move that pays its dividends when the plaintive piano notes come in at the end of the track to inject some emotion into the po-faced machinations.
There are also satisfying moments where the acid traditions are more explicitly shaken off as on “Ladbroke Culture”, which eschews a linear techno approach and keeps the rhythms at bay so that plentiful arpeggios and spooky keys can linger without interruption. When the beat does come in, it’s at a skewed angle that takes some time to assimilate into your internal clock, making for a delightfully disorientating experience that does a great service to Acid Test’s remit of forward-thinking box jams.
While there is certainly plenty of bite to Odd Movements, it’s also pleasing to see that Achterbahn D’Amour have also managed to create a long-player with enough shades and layers to it to warrant the deeper listening experience all good albums should be geared towards. It would be a stretch to say that new ground is being broken here, but the prime concern is the quality of ideas that Piafra and Curtis have had whether wholly innovative or not. In that sense, across all nine tracks the pair have more than delivered.
1. Holy Romance Empire
3. Jaws Of J.O.Y
4. Ladbroke Culture
5. Odd Movements
6. Teen Sleep
7. My Demands
9. Cream & Treacle IM