Sender Berlin – Gestern Heute Morgen

Yesterday, today, tomorrow. An appropriate translation, as this is timeless music. But then again, like so much high quality techno music, it contains the seeds of its past, the sound of now, and an eye on the future horizon. 

So yes, timeless. In the case of this album I don’t mean timeless in the sense that you couldn’t tell when this music was made – anyone with an ear for stylistic trends, and the give-away signs of the technology used to create it would be able to place it in a certain time period. But it is timeless in its purity – simple elements working together like a well-oiled machine: bass, rhythm, melody, tension and release.

Taking the classic machine sounds of their countrymen and forefathers, Kraftwerk, and the sense of space and atmosphere from (also countrymen and forefathers) Basic Channel, Sender Berlin have created 12 tracks of very solid, dubby, electro-techno. Energy levels are set firmly in the middle – nothing is particularly pounding or banging, and nothing lags. 

Walk in neon cosmos

Spaziergang In Neon Kosmos has an overtly dubby bassline; the twinkly melody line on Ja Order Nein sounds almost twee, but is kept in check by the urgent but unhurried tempo. Aside from some of these stylistic frills, everything is very straight up – insistent little riffs and melodies that worm their way through the tracks and into your brain. There is no sound of a human voice anywhere on the record; apart from one heavily filtered robo voice on Reise zum Mond, and some ahhs that sounds more like the synthesised vocal ahhs produced by a keyboard. That doesn’t mean this music is cold or inhuman, on the contrary. The lack of any recognisable words and language help give the music that sense of timelessness – I can imagine people enjoying this 20 years ago (even 40 years ago) and even 40 years from now. The narrative arc of each track and dramatic interplay of various elements within them are only too human, and that never gets old.  

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