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Listening Party

Kreuzberg: Kreuzberg

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m = minimal

No idea why it’s so infectious; it just is. And it’s instantly recognizable: that machine-like steady beat that Klaus Dinger lays down and guitarist Michael Rother builds epics around in tracks such as “Fur Immer,” “Super,” and “After Eight.” It’s the chugging pattern that makes countless Stereolab rhythms percolate with a bubbly bounce. And it’s what makes the lead-off track from German duo Kreuzberg’s self-titled debut EP such a seductive jam from the get go. Drummer Andreas Peters pounds out the 4/4 pulse as DJ Jens Strüver dub layers tones and repetitive textures on top, making this momentum-generating beat feel a little woozy and aqueous. The track’s name? Why, “Neu!?,” of course.

As one half of the duo Borngräber and Strüver, Strüver has more than a decade of minimal techno/ambient sculpturing productions/remixes to his credit. The duo’s recent Urlaub 12-inch showcases its strengths in staging subtle dynamic shifts in beats and textures inside of glistening pools of downtempo chill. Paired with drummer Peters, however, Strüver finds a warmer mood. Peters shakes out a hi-hat dance to open “Unheimlich”—which Sigmund Freud readers may recognize as “uncanny,” a feeling Strüver suggests by Dali-dripping dubby basslines and echoing washes over the gentle beat lilt for nearly 13 minutes of inner-space travels. Peters gamely changes things up here and there—a quick fill, a body-pausing rest in the rustling motion—and around 10 minutes in, the track has side-winded into a busybody elixir.

What sounds like coffee beans getting ground sets up the granular funk of “Kaffeepause,” four-minutes of zero-gravity booty bounce. And EP closer “Grille” artfully segues from underwater haunt to droning ambience to space-ship liftoff in its nearly 20 minutes of cinematic brain taffy. Kreuzberg is nobody’s idea of a dance-floor banger. But as a woozy dose of dub-inflected head trips, you could find a much worse summer soundtrack for watching the pavement melt.

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