The Hermit is one of those guys who shrouds themselves in secrecy, but that’s contradicted in the promo which states that he has a “long and productive history in the Munich techno scene of the 90’s.” I would be tempted to assume he got bored of techno and wanted to try something more personal.
A great many ideas are apparent in the tracks, and so much happens within one minute of each song. In this way, it should be uncomfortable to listen to on a Sunday afternoon, but is one of those albums that can flow beneath the senses.
The steady hi-tech humming and dubby rhythms in tracks like ‘Extroverted’ and ‘Introverted’ make the more abrasive and ear-splitting frequencies that whip around the tracks seem to be more relative to a relaxed atmosphere.
There are shades of Otto Van Schirach and Vadim in tracks like ‘Force’ and ‘Debility’ respectively, with touches of Autechre and Apparat apparent. The songs are effective in their own take however, and I use these references to other artists because of my inadequacy to describe exactly what the sounds I’m hearing are.
‘Ashes’ is a multi-layered spacial and mystical glitch-based atmosphere which sets the standard of tracks on the album. It playfully utilises one sophisticated synth-stabbing bar as loop sample, and then uses effects like low/high passes and cuts, and passes other glitchy noises over its surface in a slippery manner.
‘Extroverted’ plays much in this way except with a synthetic moogy/dubby background (which sounds reminiscent of Otto Van Schirach or Neill Landstrumm) with a boom-bap beat and multi-layered pitches in and out, with changing central beat structure from 2-4 to broken-beat.
‘Debility’ is a slippery and dubby soundscape with whips of white noise, further accentuated by Kabbalic chanting in the background and guest rapper Dredolla adding lyricism to the atmosphere.
‘Lemniscate’ serves to intensify the “future” dynamic, before melting over to the steady organic beat of guitar strumming and kick-snare kick-kick-snare of final track ‘Maya’. This steadiness is abstracted by the vignette lyricism of guest Grotesk, whose paranoid references to media intrusion in culture turn from priestly sermons to free-flowing mystical rap.
There’s apparently samples in Liber 1: Metempsychosis referring to Kabbalah occultism and Alistair Crowley theory, but is rather obscure to translate this information into transcendental meaning. There is some element to the music that makes this music extra-special and expressive, and is about as close as we can logically get to spiritualism in that humans are the creators of this emotional content we label spirit.
All in all, it’s a brave and intelligent work that aims very high, although it could be argued if it actually accomplishes its mark, as it didn’t really grip me entirely despite its complex and unique approach. It comes of as trying to come off as groundbreaking, but doesn’t quite achieve this goal. It will be interesting to see if there are any follow-ups to this work in the future.