Obalski – Wind S

While some labels choose to look close to home for inspiration, Public Possession have always sourced material from the four corners of the globe. Even so, it’s true to say that some of the label’s most intriguing releases have come from in-house production outfit Tambien (a collaboration between Bartellow, and label founders Marvin & Valentino), and fellow Munich resident Dominik Obalski. The latter is a particularly interesting example, because he has shied away from pandering to the demands of the dancefloor. His roots are apparently in experimental music – his CV includes crafting sound instillation’s for art galleries, and composing music for art-house plays – and this could be heard in both his 2014 debut, Introducing Obalski, and last year’s follow-up, According To Obalski.

Obalski - Wind S
Artist
Obalski
Title
Wind S
Label
Public Possession
Format
12"
Buy vinyl

Both of these EPs were impressively inventive, blending vintage synth and cheap drum machine sounds on production that subtly doffed a cap to numerous styles – from kosmiche and ambient house, to IDM and Detroit techno – while sounding impressively unique. It’s interesting, then, that Obalski’s return to Public Possession – some 12 months on from his last outing – is formatted slightly differently. Instead of a smorgasboard of cuts exploring numerous ideas, Wind-S comprises a single Obalski production, this time backed with a pair of complimentary remixes. Of course, the original track in question has admirably arty roots, having originally been written for one of Obalski’s theatrical soundtracks.

It’s not hard to picture “Wind-S” sound-tracking a tender moment on-stage. Built around picturesque, intertwined melodies that slowly rise and fall as if caught on a gentle breeze, it shuffles across the sound space on a wave of bubbly, delay-laden notes, starry electronics and synthesizer-generated wind effects. Undeniably analogue in construction, it feels like a rediscovered relic; an unissued Tangerine Dream cut, perhaps, or one of those vintage Greek new wave records recently reissued by Music From Memory offshoot Into The Light. Either way, it’s a thing of rare beauty: an aural glint of sunshine on an autumnal day.

Given the beat-less, effortlessly melodious nature of Obalski’s original, it makes sense that Public Possession has sought out more dancefloor-friendly reworks. Intriguingly, the chosen remixers have each taken noticeably different approaches. Ostgut Ton regular Nick Höppner clearly decided to embrace the glistening positivity of Obalski’s original. Smartly, he pushes the Munich producer’s cyclical synthesizer motifs to the fore, matching the ebb and flow of these headline-grabbing melodies with a bustling but bouncy rhythm track. It’s arguably one of the boldest and most rush-inducing reworks that Hoppner has so far committed to wax, but it works wonderfully.

In contrast, the remix from Japanese outfit Mascaras – known primarily for their previous work for Berlin misfits CockTail D’Amore – is a more radical interpretation. It’s loose, occasionally wild rhythm track – all pounding machine percussion, drummer-style fills and heavy cymbal crashes – is accompanied by select snippets of Obalski’s original synthesizer work. As a result, the mix sounds more melancholic, and a little distant. Perhaps we should think of it as more of a leftfield house tribute, rather than a straightforward remix. Judged in those terms, it’s quietly impressive.

Matt Anniss

Tracklisting:

A1. Wind-s
A2. Wind-s (Mascaras Gentle Breeze Dub)
B1. Wind-s (Nick Höppner Remix)