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Efdemin - Efdemin

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Artist: Efdemin

Album: Efdemin

Label: Dial

Review date: Jun. 18, 2007

The artists recording for the Dial imprint share a slightly gloomy outlook: everything is overcast, but also beautiful in its greyscale demeanour, shuffling around on the edges of the dance floor, hands in pockets, shifting from foot to foot. Doubtless I’m projecting (for all I know, the Dial crew could be mad for it), but the imprint’s three flagship acts - Lawrence, Pantha Du Prince and Efdemin - bring a natural temperance to bear on techno, a bruised blue gentility.

Efdemin, the self-titled debut album for Phillip Sollmann’s recording project, barely raises a sweat throughout its 70 minutes. It also keeps the listener committed, which speaks highly of the mood control and tone adjustment that Sollmann uses to guide his music, letting it glide, skimming across the ears like certain species of bird take to the water. There is something of Carl Craig’s controlled emotional tenor to these pieces: “Knocking at the Grand” and “Bergwein” open and close Efdemin with gently placed bell tones that roll down the cheeks like tears. “April Fools” pulses softly, its heartbeat coated by ghostly chants lifted from an early Black Dog production and subsequently wrapped in cotton wool.

Sollmann manages to paint in demure shades without recourse to wallpaper modes, avoiding the glum emotional cul-de-sac where lesser producers rest their weary heads. Efdemin is reflective in both senses of the word: firstly, it is self-analytical and quietly ruminative; secondly, its surfaces are blurred, indistinct and yet somehow provide the same distorted echo as a mirror coated with a fine spray of dust and rouge. You could call it synaesthesic techno.

By Jon Dale

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