Two decades on from when the term “techno” was first coined, it’s pleasing to report that one of the veterans of the scene, Tommi Bass, is still active in the genre. Although born in Britain he now calls Berlin his home. Thus we have ‘Gamma’ a collection of eight tracks, each imaginatively titled ‘Gamma’ and this album constitutes one part of his Radiation series of releases, with ‘Alpha’ and ‘Beta’ already available on other labels.
Bowel-shaking beats and dub are certanly well employed here but the overall tone is one of dance minimalism. ‘Gamma’ is entirely wordless apart from a few utterances of ‘OK’ on the stealthy ‘Gamma 02’. The album as a whole may lack warmth but each track is different enough from the last to sustain interest. ‘Gamma 04’ mixes menace with playful noise, ‘Gamma 05’ moves along to a train track rhythm and by the final track – that’ll be ‘Gamma 08’ then – there’s a sense that an undercurrent of evil has been gradually encompassing the air space since the start of the record.
With its stubborn refusal to let in any shades of emotion, ‘Gamma’ could have been a rather sterile experience. Yet “Mr. Bass” has infused his music with enough idiosyncracies to make it a thoroughly listenable hour of sophisticated electronic music.
Nathan Fake, SI-CUT.DB, Colder