Patrick Gräser's followup to his well-received 2014 debut, Code, is a multifaceted, at times surprising, collection of rich, dark electronic music that defies easy categorization. It isn't as experimental as the pre-release buzz suggested, but the Berlin nightclub DJ deserves credit for mixing up the genres.
The album's title track kicks things off in a dark ambient vein. The low end is so deep that you'll miss it if you're not in a quiet room. "Sphera" follows, pushing that beat right up front. It's not a huge leap to go from gloomy ambient to new IDM, but then to switch directions between tracks one and two (on just your second album) sends a clear signal about your intention to push envelopes.
"Ab Intus" comes next, with a further exploration of the industrial vibe. Like a lot of the album, this one begs for volume; Gräser's material works in a pair of high-end headphones, but it's really meant for your favourite nightclub.
The next highlight is a breakbeat track called "Knbn2." The synth lines running throughout are bright and airy. The contrast between the song's two main elements is, in a way, central to the entire project. Some of these tracks are all about the beat; others are pure chill. It's the connection points that give Gens a sense of purpose.
Four tracks running in sequence — "Cicadae," "Res," "Audax" and "Tu" — will blow your speakers in the most satisfying way. The first offers a modern, stripped-down take on jungle. The others are pure, heavyweight techno and those alone are worth the price of admission. (Ostgut Ton)