Schwefelgelb – Whirlpool-Gedanken
German duo Schwefelgelb have always preferred to refer to their techno as ‘body music.’ Indeed, theirs is one of the most programmed to propulsive to come out of Berlin, full of heart pounding bass and incessant, relentless beats. Their body music takes no prisoners, and has always done so by bending the laws of techno just enough to land on something both familiar and unique. Their latest EP, Whirlpool-Gedanken, is perhaps the most ‘classic’ they’ve ever sounded, taking its sonic cues from the Detroit playbook and choosing to hone in on laser sharp, precise, and intricate percussion.
Whirlpool-Gedanken essentially sees Schwefelgelb work with old-school ideas, using these as the foundations for their signature hard hitting, big room style. On Einer Macht Den Twist, you can hear it in the domineering regular time thud, at first decorated only with touches of Motor City futurist synths, and later with increasingly more Schwefelgelb flourishes. There’s a looped, robotised vocal snatch, snarling industrial grinds, and moments where the sound recedes and allows for peaks and valleys. These sorts of peaks and valleys, which those well versed in techno might consider ‘progressive,’ are distinct to the duo, who have been working subtle elements of progression into their techno for some time. In a purist sense, it’s what separates their body music from techno proper.
When it comes to the classic palette they turn to on Whirlpool-Gedanken, these sounds can often get lost amidst the peaks and valleys, which is the case with Einer Macht Den Twist, but on Dann Kommt Der Schleier they commit to the style fully. The result is one of the EP’s most hypnotic tracks, a more successful melding of Schwefelgelb’s style with the “smooth progression of Detroit Techno” that they wish to emulate. Of the five tracks on Whirlpool-Gedanken, Weit Genug is perhaps the most the duo stray from the constraints of techno. The track sits at the intersection of techno, bass, and bounce, and is easily the most mind blowing moment the duo offer on the EP. Whirlpool-Gedanken is likely the kind of EP that will piss off techno purists, by virtue of its boldness to subvert the conventions of the traditional Motor City methodology. It’s also an EP that doesn’t try to be anything other than what it is; a handful of visceral, scorching dancefloor fillers designed to make you move, and to keep you moving.
Listen to Weit Genug from Whirlpool-Gedanken below.