out now: tobias. – Leaning Over Backwards [Ostgut Ton]June 30, 2011
Leaning Over Backwards
4th July 2011
CD, LP & digital
Voices Told Me To Do That
Leaning Over Backwards
Observing The Hypocrites
She Still Calls Me Mister
We Stick To The Plan
Now I Know
Underwater techno. That could be ‘Leaning Over Backwards’ in just two words. Tobias Freund’s debut album for Ostgut Ton also serves as the long player introduction for his tobias. moniker, giving a fascinating and profound insight into his special world of music and sound science. Having been involved in the music industry since 1980, you could easily fill tomes with his work and creations. Formerly based in Frankfurt am Main and for a few years now happily living in Berlin, tobias. started his quest in sound as a synth experimentalist with a Korg MS20, worked a day job as a studio engineer (for acts as diverse as Milli Vanilli and more recently Aerea Negrot, Ellen Allien, Nina Kraviz and Heartthrob amongst others), remixed, released as Pink Elln or in collaborative projects Sieg über die Sonne and NSI. (together with Max Loderbauer) and runs his own label Non Standard Productions. But that’s beside the point, even if tobias. does bring friends, old and new, on his debut album. Named after a lyric from a Wire song, ‘Leaning Over Backwards’
suggests the feeling one gets when doing exactly that, bent over a rail, testing how long you can possibly do it before gravity takes hold, toppling you over. In this case it can last forever. Amongst other things, tobias. renounces the ubiquitous dictate of computer sequencing. Reduced to a plain recording device, the computer makes way for the classic drum machines Roland TR 808 and a Korg Mini Pops. Known for their stubbornness, the character brought by unpredictability wins over standardised convenience. Tobias’ sound is rewarded with a dynamism that doesn’t forego attention to detail, accuracy of sound or thoughtfulness.
Rooted in jam sessions with just beats and FX units, the mood and sound of the tracks on ‘Leaning Over Backwards’ follow these parameters. The results are sometimes unswerving club tracks (‘Skippy’, ‘Party Town’, ‘We Stick to the Plan’), occasionally an ambient or drone-like atmosphere (‘Zero Tolerance’, ‘Observing The Hypocrites’) or a hybrid of the two, as in the title track. All united by the imagery of “being underwater” that is apparent from the start with ‘Girts’. Take ‘The Key’ for instance; produced in Santiago by Tobias and his long standing colleague Uwe Schmidt aka
AtomTM, you can listen to splintered beats and gloomy pads submerging into the Drexciyan depths. It all comes full circle with ‘Now I Know’. Both fantastical and fey, tobias. once again makes use of Aerea Negrot’s (from Hercules & Love Affair) powerful vocals. As before on ‘Party Town’ or ‘Zero Tolerance’, Negrot is the icing on the cake, turning the album closer into a yearning slice of Blade Runner-esque pop.
‘Leaning Over Backwards’ insists and bewitches with its nonconformity and almost frightening idiosyncrasy. tobias. creates a style of techno that is as far away from the steam roller kicks and traditional rules of functionalism as it is from being purely synthetic. Techno as perpetual motion machine, both above and underwater.
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Record release party:
9th July 2011 @ Berghain, Berlin (Germany)
Event @ Berghain.de