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Totakeke – On The First Of November

Totakeke - On The First Of November

Tympanik Audio, 2010

I’m an unashamed product of the ’90s industrial scene, so the Totakeke project is full of familiar signifiers for me. Haujobb are an obvious comparison, although occasionally on “On The First Of November” Frank Mokros (a.k.a. Ativ/Synth-Etik) indulges a baroque side reminiscent of an instrumental :Wumpscut:. But Haujobb rapidly outgrew their Frontline Assembly-influenced roots, experimented with a range of live instrumentation, and branched out into breaks, minimal, and even jazz (check out “The Cage Complex”). Totakeke on the other hand has found a vibe and stuck with it. All the tracks on “On The First Of November” use roughly the same palette of synths, beats and effects, varying in pace more than anything else, and the lack of audible vocals, identifiable samples or even track names (Untitled 1-10 is all you get) leave me wondering exactly how memorable they’re even supposed to be.
But it’s perfectly listenable if that’s how you’re wired, and it’ll bring back a warm nostalgic glow for how you thought the music of the future would sound, back when people had modems and read Mondo 2000, and William Gibson’s cyberpunk novels were still lynchpins of a newly-emerged genre. Perhaps that’s what you’re supposed to hear, a pastiche of retro-futurism, a musical Gernsback Continuum for the post-industrial otaku generation; the soundtrack to the replacement of our V.R. helmets with neural jacks.
It’s not all as vintage as I make it sound, but what glitch flourishes Mokros has included have a hard time competing with a curiously muffled mix in the bid to provide a contemporary gloss. But it’s all on Spotify and MySpace, so don’t take my word for it. Hit the link below and see if it drops you back into the Grid or leaves you with a dropped carrier.


— Andrew Clegg

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