Review: Terrence Fixmer – When the Sun

Terrence Fixmer's When the Sun EP

Terrence Fixmer’s When the Sun EP is a strange beast. We’re essentially presented with two tracks that fit the mode we’ve come to expect from Electric Deluxe, but packed in with a title track of an entirely different style. While the first two tracks on the new release (When the Earth and When the Moon) have a similar feel to his Fixmer’s EP on electric deluxe Le Terrible, they lack the intense atmospheric elements present in the previous release (personally, I think this is unfortunate, as the drone-like atmospheres floating above the tracks on Le Terrible greatly enhanced the tracks). But then the title track, truly the highlight of the EP, seems to depart entirely from the style we’ve witnessed from Terrence Fixmer recently – it’s not dark and spooky, but a softer form of deep techno that allows for some unexpected comparisons.

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When the Earth and When the Moon

These tracks do a few things very well. Firstly, the creativity of these tracks lies in the timing of their basic elements. Effects and drum hits fade in and out (or turn on and off) unexpected in a way that is sure to please anyone that’s been listening to underground techno over the last few years. Furthermore, these are well-textured, and yet clean sounding tracks. They are well-balanced, and well-constructed. On a large system (I always imagine tracks being played at Berghain – no explanation needed), I expect they will be massive (especially When the Earth, the more intense of the two tracks). As such, I think they will be really useful to techno DJ’s, but may not have the same appeal to the at-home, one-track-at-a-time sort of listener. Without the right presentation and environment, these tracks might struggle to stand out from other current releases.

When the Sun

Now this track is something that, for me, was entirely unexpected. Simply put, it doesn’t seem like the Electric Deluxe that I’m used to hearing (which is not a bad thing, by any means!). As such, I consider it to be the highlight of the EP. It consists of multiple layers of harmonized hits, metallic and textured, drift in and out, building intensity as the track progresses. It immediately jumps out at you that this is not the dark-and-heavy sound we’ve come to expect from Electric Deluxe. In fact, it bears some similarities music produced by The Field, but without the focus on samples.

In some ways, this track reflects some of classical American minimalist music, like Steve Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians.” It utilizes small “hits” that have melodic content, heavily layered and played at different rates, and ultimately embraces serialism in a pleasing way.