A big part of what has always attracted me to techno is its anonymity. The faceless shadows behind the decks had no race, gender, religion, or creed. Where rock and hip-hop were weighed down with cultural baggage and notions of authenticity, techno offered a blank futurist space onto which I could project myself and insert myself into its narrative. The music was austere and clinical, stripped of all the unnecessary embellishments of human identity. To be perfectly clear, not all techno is like this, but I’ve always gravitated towards artists who embraced the coldness of the machine aesthetic, who subsumed their identity into a technological anonymity, whose music embodied the clean lines of modernist form and function. Sleeparchive inhabits many of these qualities that I like. I know very little about the man behind Sleeparchive aside from his name (Roger Semsroth) and that he’s from Berlin. The name, Sleeparchive, reminds me of some secret research facility and his records, released in nondescript cardboard gray sleeves, feel like enigmatic missives.
“A Wounded Worker” is the A-Side of his latest release. It’s a tense listen driven by a cavernous kick drum and a paranoid arpeggiating synth that never resolves itself. The sub-bass underneath the track provides an ominous undertow while clipped industrial percussive elements provide accents to the relentless forward momentum. It could soundtrack an endless chase down a flickering corridor, the synth mimicking the panicked mind state of the prey. It’s a well-constructed track, especially in how it constantly ramps up the tension using subtle shifts.
4 out of 5
(1) He works at the famous Hard Wax record store in Berlin which I am hoping to visit in 2017.