Album Review: Juan Atkins & Moritz von Oswald / ‘Borderland’ (Tresor)

borderland moritz von oswald juan atkins


Ordinarily a collaboration of this size is all in the mind of messageboard spectators clamouring for an infallible merger. However, Borderland providing tantalization — deep, steady, mildly futuristic as a ponderous probe – will have them racing straight back to their keyboards, asking questions as to whether they’re fully getting the benefits of the duo’s expertise.

Moving effortlessly to amiable flecks and pulses documenting nature and up-down bass of an infinite lifespan, it’s an immersive eiderdown of house and techno milieu. On some level it is faceless; yet the anonymity it does profile sustains a restful ease, massaging controls, resisting urging them on as the jackhammers and pistons are told to fall back. “Footprints,” prominent through its super-clipped hi-hats, is the extent of deviation, save for when the beats drop out in suspended wonder.

The two shape eight tracks from a ball of astro clay that yields the softly, surreptitiously scientific, faintly luminescent (some may say with an aquatic serenity) and of melodies making you take a vow of silence. As it cleanses the dancefloor with little more than a nudge, it edges to the verge of buttery until it threatens to bloat. “Digital Forest” at least throws a mite more fuel on the fire, and “Afterlude” leaves a haunting, timely/too little too late reminder that actually they haven’t been resting on their laurels with a super-minimal fractal dissection. Holding back, or entering a new dimension? Their collaborative B&C games remain better than the A-games of most, but will that be sufficient compensation for ardent techno evangelists?

File under: Basic Channel, Cybotron, DeepChord