Dopplereffekt – Neurotelepathy
For the past 27 years, Dopplereffekt has existed as the intersection between Detroit and Germany, creating glacial and mechanical works of electro and body music under the guidance of the elusive Gerald Donald. Whereas peers like Mills, Hood, and the rest of the Underground Resistance embedded themselves and their music firmly in the techno culture of Detroit, Dopplereffekt opened itself up to a distinctly European influence. In their early days, the results were mixed. Odd socialist manifestos like Gesamtkunstwerk and absurd fetishism eventually turned to sharp futurism and cyborg ideations. In short, they have produced some of the most memorable electronic music of the past two decades, like techno without being chained to the conventions of the genre and its common time.
Neurotelepathy, their latest album, is a collection of “considerations of the machine-human interface, neurological realities and physical probabilities.” It’s heady stuff, and comparable to the investiture into mathematics on 2017’s Cellular Automata. But for all their outward complexities, Dopplereffekt’s music has remained fairly straightforward. In other words, don’t be alarmed by the lofty nomenclature. Their futurism and hyper scientific persona exists in concept and image, rarely mutating their sound into anything too abstract. This is not a fault; their music has remained chrome plated and slick, only growing in sophistication with each release. Neurotelepathy may be their slickest to date.
Loosely exploring the idea of a machine adopting the thoughts and consciousness of a human subject, the album opens with the sci-fi overture of Epigenetic Modulation, a bleeping soundscape that sucks us into the laboratory where Dopplereffekt’s human-machine neuro-intersection will take place. Then things explode with earthshaking kicks and squelchy bass, acid arpeggios and icy precision on Neuro Impulse Actuator – Mirror Neuron. There’s the twinkling machine funk of Neuroplasticity, which sparks like actual neurons against an almost hip-hop adjacent half time beat. Cerebral To Cerebral Interface is equally funky, but nothing else on the album goes quite as hard as Neuro Impulse Actuator – Mirror Neuron. The rest are chilly, serpentine soundscapes of synth and machine noise, futuristic compositions that pulse and slither with an alien menace. Cerebral – AI entanglement juxtaposes arpeggios with swelling drones and metallic pads, creating a tense atmosphere that undulates with an austere strangeness. The two-step kick of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is another bright moment, paired with slithering synth sounds and glowing drones that sound like extraterrestrial organs. The erratic, hyperactive synth buzz of EEG recalls recent work by Jlin, and closes the album with an amorphous and uncanny energy.
As a whole, Neurotelepathy is remarkably symphonic. While not entirely transgressive per-se, listening to the album from front to back is an experience. Dopplereffekt conjures visceral images of the spaces they imagine through their sound. The mixing of the music on Neurotelepahry gives the album a sense of space and vastness; an impossibly cosmic sense of emptiness that creates an atmosphere in which each sound feels massive. It’s intelligent music making about artificial intelligence, and a solid body of work from masters of the craft.
Listen to Neuro Impulse Actuator – Mirror Neuron from Neurotelepathy below.