Dark, rugged and very unique – that’s how the debut album by IfZ resident Subkutan sounds. It was released last week on the Leipzig label Hypress. And we listened.
Subcutaneous has had a significant impact on the Leipzig club scene over the past fifteen years. Eleven years ago we had him in a lengthy interview – at that time he was quite alone in Leipzig with his dytopic, driving techno. Hard to imagine today, but in the early 2010s Leipzig was firmly in the hands of house and minimal. During this time, Subkutan hosted the Vertigo series and was part of the inner circle of the Institut für Zukunft’s first exciting and turbulent years.
Even if he is mainly known for his techno sets, Subkutan has been producing music for a long time, solo and as part of the duo artPara – the first tracks have already been heard on various IfZ compilations. There it quickly became clear that as a producer he was more experimental and industrial.
With his debut album “Unwritten”, Subkutan is now further consolidating this line. Techno in the classic sense is only on one track: “I Can See We’re Already There”. And even here there is a harsh chill and dystopian restlessness in the sounds. Otherwise, Subkutan rhythmically breaks away from all functional dancefloor approaches and plays with breaky, dubbed and rattling kicks. Otherwise, “Unwritten” is also strongly characterized by a menacing and neurotic atmosphere – with hard industrial synths, restless, repetitive sounds and spooky spoken words and wavy coolness. The Words in general: Subkutan seems to have a soft spot for dark poetry – poems appear in many tracks. The most impressive here is “The Early Bird” with a theatrical vocal feature by Mia Gara from Leipzig.
“Unwritten” is not an easily accessible album, it demands and defends itself against hasty techno and club appropriation. Rather, it sets to music a world full of discord and fractures, uncomfortable environments and disturbing situations. And in a very diverse and uncompromising way – no track is like the other, Subkutan chooses a new approach every time. That doesn’t make it easy to understand “Unwritten” as a coherent artist work, it could also be a compilation of different acts.
But the other way around, that’s exactly where the strength of the album lies: It’s so unpredictable and courageous, so unique and dramatic, just like Subkutan acts as a DJ and producer. Anyone looking for something from this cosmos for the club will find it in the remixes by Kaltes Herz and Sylie Mariarz. Alex.Do and Kareem, on the other hand, also engage in the musical experiments of the originals.