Frank Bretschneider’s “Lunik” might serve as one of his most accessible and playful album, full of surprisingly warm textures. A staple of Raster Noton and countless other labels, Frank Bretschneider’s works often reflect upon a studied form of minimalism. Usually flirting with dance elements though never quite fully embracing them, there is something unique about the way that he constructs the often physical, highly precise groove. His work with SND, Taylor Deupree, and others shows a remarkable attention to the gradual evolution of sound. Everything within his world often has a glitch-inflected hue to it, as precision is a must.
“Lunik” turns a lot of this on its head. Sure, the satisfyingly steady rhythms are still there. Yet there a fondness for looser structures that gives the entire album an almost psychedelic sheen. His most post-rock-oriented album the pieces at times opt for weird squiggles and blurbs of sound that would be welcome on early Mouse on Mars dub-influenced works. While he continues to focus heavily on rhythm he lets the songs unfurl, as they go for a messier sort of vision. Before his rhythms would be at the forefront, almost an aural assault on the senses. They continue to hold considerably sway over it all yet there’s something more going on, a greater deal of color.
The album cover clues the listener into the world that awaits them. Previous releases have heavily studious, almost bereft of color, sort of designs. A lovely curve there, precisely drawn lines there, these usually represent the music going on inside. With this album he embraces an oddly colorful, almost Animal Collective referencing optical illusion. By choosing such a cover, Frank Bretschneider hints at the unusual twist he has put on these pieces. Various samples, woozy rhythms, even a willingness to play with melody comes to the forefront. Rarely has he let loose so fully and completely. Even when he does go for his more standard percussive elements, he gives them a bit more leeway in their evolution.
Sprawling with an ambient scope “Elektrik” references early electronic music pioneers. With a loose, jazz-like structure the sounds ebb and flow out of the mix, as percussion is given a tactile disposition. The celebratory “Numerik” incorporates an incredible amount of light into the mix, giving it a sunny disposition. Even on “Logik” which starts out with those bass rumbles that adorn any Frank Bretschneidner album, he lets dub take over to a large degree as the flexibility of the sound works wonders. Elastic electro introduces itself on “Kinetik” as Frank Bretschneider explores an entirely new sonic palette. Minimalism (his stock and trade) appears on “Optik (For Yen-Ni)” yet this too reveals a lighter, gentler touch while he maintains his attention to scuplting sound.
For the latter half of the album Frank Bretschneider lets his previous discography come into the mix a little bit more. “Statik” shows off his work incorporating white noise into rhythms, though this too comes closer to dance than anything he’s done in the past. A little bit of pop even comes into the fray on the energetic workout of “Mechanik”. Taking a total left turn Frank Bretschneider ends things on a jazz-influenced note with the completely out of character (for him) stylings of “Sputnik”.
After working in electronica for so long, it feels doubly refreshing for a mainstay to completely change his formula. On “Lunik” Frank Bretschneiders broadens his horizons, resulting in a surprising yet ultimately satisfying work.