Published Sep 14, 2010After a return to form with 2008's When Horses Die, German minimal techno innovator Thomas Brinkmann has returned to his more house-oriented Soul Center alias for fourth album General Eclectics. In the late '90s, Brinkmann gained recognition for his experimental remixes of Wolfgang Voigt's Studio 1 project and Richie Hawtin's Concept EPs, where he extracted hidden rhythms using a double-armed turntable he designed himself. Soul Center was born around that creative period, but has been on hold for nearly a decade, ever since 2001's III, on Mute. Brinkmann went on to launch his label, Max Ernst, to release his productions, but as the '00s wore on, his more experimental work began to lose focus, and so General Eclectics can rightly be seen as an extension of Brinkmann's revitalization since 2008's highly impressive When Horses Die. Soul Center circa 2010 still shifts toward funkier, more soulful, locked grooves. The album starts off with "Marmalade," a deep, grooving dub techno track with infectious bass rhythms. "Hal2010" is a chugging, deep jig that's bound to make your body rock. "Don't Fake The Cake" is a deep, funky tech house track with soulful vocal snippets layered throughout. General Eclectics is another impressive submission from this revolutionary pioneer.
You haven't done a full-length Soul Center release since III in 2001. What made you want to revisit this alias?
It became independent enough to do it again. Let's say Soul Center is a nail in the wall to hang up the tracks and the graphics. Somebody was asking what is the soul? Mucosa or muscle? But as you might know, Soul Center was a club back in the '70s where people went dancing. When I play Soul Center, people are still dancing, so I decided to make a new Soul Center record.
Why did you incorporate Russian Futurists Aleksei Kruchenykh and Vladimir Mayakovsky's poetry into your work?
They are not on the map; we are always talking about Dada or Italo Futurists or pop, but it was fantastic what was going on in Russia back then, culturally. Kruchenykh or Chlebnikov were already doing such weird stuff in the 19th century and there was also the so-called Silver Generation with Marina Zwetaeva, Jossip Mandelstam and Andreij Beleij. I just love reading up on Joseph Brodsky, who died in the '90s, and I love the movie directors, from Eisenstein to Sergeij Paradjanov to Tarkovsky or Klimov. The Russian-Jewish-Armenian cultural mix was so rich and there is something to discover next to Disney or WB.
What were your influences while creating General Eclectics?
Scottish whiskey from Isley, Italian coffee and tap water, as well as having some fun at parties and on motorcycles.
In the past, you've carved into records using a razor. Were there any similar techniques used on General Eclectics?
No, not at all, but I'm doing a show at [the] Taico festival in Japan with eight turntables and a kind of knife, starting with nothing in the locked grooves and ending up in a total improvisation from beginning to the end. Later, I will play Soul Center over there ― two different things. (Shitkatapult)