Zeitgeber: “Body Out Body In” Review

Under their new collaboration alias Zeitgeber (German for “synchonizer”), Lucy and Speedy J will soon be releasing a pair of experimental techno tracks on Stroboscopic Artefacts, entitled Body Out and Body In. We were lucky enough to get our hands on a copy in advance of the release, and are excited to share our thoughts.

Especially given the roster of his label, it’s no surprise to see recent Dub Monitor interviewee Lucy engaged in another experimental techno project. However, it is interesting and difficult to try to pin-point Speedy J’s influence in the tracks, given that (to my limited knowledge) he hasn’t regularly worked with deep/experimental techno for more than a decade now (with the exception of the album he produced with Pete Namlook [RIP] in 2004 – if you haven’t heard it, look it up. A living techno icon paired with a passed ambient legend).

The first thing that stands out about this release is the absolutely impeccable sound design and mixing. Each element is placed with absolute sonic precision while still retaining a paradoxically organic feel. Exceptional attention to contrast in timbre makes these otherwise inaccessible tracks come to life and become immersive. Body Out follows the format of a twisted tripping beat overlain with medieval droning chords, all sidechained to the kick to provide a sense of stumbling energy (similar to Lucy’s Eon from the Wordplay for Working Bees album), both cerebral yet hedonistic.  By contrast, Body In is a drone work of airy tones supplemented by waves of untextured clicks. The lack of substantial bass in the track indicates to me that it’s most likely intended to be layered over other tracks rather than played as a stand-alone piece for it’s entire 8-minute duration. The fact that both of the involved artists are known for heavily layered DJ sets supports this theory.

Overall, I am impressed by this release. In my opinion, Body Out has been one of the strongest techno tracks from Stroboscopic Artefacts in recent memory (although I can’t stop listening to Ruskin’s Cast Down on Stellate 4). I sincerely look forward to the recently announced LP by Zeitgeber – it is definitely too early to call, but there appears to be more innovative potential in this duo’s combined work than in most collaborations I’ve seen since the Sandwell District era came to an abrupt end. We’ll only know for sure once the album drops.

Check this release out for yourself in early June – any lover of deep, strange, experimental techno won’t be disappointed.