Nothing really beats the first few seconds of this startlingly original debut from Germany’s Brandt Brauer Frick. The rest of it is great too of course, but it’s during those very first 30 seconds that you immediately get where this album is coming from. As opener “Corky Prelude” is slowly faded up, the rumbling percussion part and distant bass sounds (which could easily be just another ordinary techno tune) reveal themselves to be a piano and blocks being hit, both clearly being played live.
BBF clearly approach techno (or indeed all dance music) with more than an awareness of jazz and classical modes. And so, over “You Make Me Real”, they set about making techno, but with live drums, treated pianos, trombones, harp, marimba and a host of other treated live sounds. The results go beyond the obvious Steve Reich/70s minimalist precedents and genuinely create their own deep, nuanced and, ultimately, fun sound. “Mi Corazon” is as playful as it is intense, while the slight Latin lilt to “Bop” makes sure this isn’t just a po-faced, overly-earnest project – the songs here live and breathe.
While this was clearly not meant to be a very conventional source of DJ fodder, songs like “RW John” could definitely be slipped into a melodic house or techno set by a crafty mixer. Minimal fans, as well as progressive jazz and classical listeners simply have to listen to this record. After the dominance of the drum machine and the 303, perhaps this kind of project will serves as a catalyst for a new wave of live techno.