CD, Pflichtkauf, 2008
Ahnst Anders is yet another mysterious project from the German label Pflichtkauf. The debut album, entitled “Dialog,” presents ten tracks ranging from epic soundscapes and engaging, subtle complexity to pointless randomness and dull repetition.
The album’s lengthy opener, “Z.W.O.,” ushers in a creeping atmosphere soon joined by dripping percussion and mysterious echoing noises like the amplified sounds of insects chewing their way through an electrical cable in the corner of some dank, dark basement. It’s a slow build, as most of the songs on “Dialog” prove to be, but usually the destinations are somewhere interesting. Percussions are very damp and only hinted at most times, as if echoing through an abandoned factory where forgotten machines of arbitrary duty are gradually humming back to life.
A consistent tone is maintained throughout the album, and although some tracks flirt with monotony, there is enough subtle diversity to keep things moving forward with a gentle progression. The moods of “Dialog” are decidedly dark and brooding, however variances to such tempers interject from time to time; cuts like “Dab,” for instance, with its tribal percussion and playful 8-bit groove. Also, the wavering dark ambiance, piercing metallic strikes, and visiting bubbles of faulty female laughter on “District.” Even the warm, washing atmospheres and mechanical clamor of “Treatment,” and the steady, lunging beat-work of “Diskuss” give this inhibited collection of work some memorable points of reference.
The contrast of dark atmospheres and whispering drones with the watery percussion and consistent, bubbling beat-work are actually quite alluring to these ears, however some songs on “Dialog” come off as a bit too repetitive and uneventful for my tastes. It’s a toss up: on one hand tracks like “Disclaim,” “Treatment,” and “Diskuss” effectively display the exceptional potential of Ahnst Anders’ ability to create focused atmospheric beddings and infectious minimal percussion movements, while other pieces like “Disconnect” and the title track are merely austere slices of dark matter that can not be seen nor felt, and ultimately are lost in inevitable tedium.
“Dialog” is one of those albums you can easily get lost in, and depending on what your flavor is at the moment, you either want to find your way back quickly, or just let it pilfer you away.
— Paul Nielsen