Photographers: Conrad Schnitzler; Jens Strüver; Pyrolator.
German electronic music pioneer Conrad Schnitzler was a restless home recorder, experimenting with synthesizers daily and cultivating a massive personal archive of otherworldly sounds. He issued countless homemade cassettes of his music in addition to the dozens of albums and compilations put out by proper labels from around the world, and releases continued after his 2011 death. Berlin-based label M=Minimal, whose first release was Schnitzler's 20-minute 1974 minimalist epic "Zug" along with updated remixes, was given access to his archive, and along with a few more reissues and a posthumous album (Endtime), the label began a series called Con-Struct, inviting contemporary electronic artists to create new compositions using the archive as source material. Label founders Borngräber+Strüver were responsible for the series' first volume in 2011, and Kreidler's Andreas Reihse completed the second installment in 2012. The third volume appears on Hamburg-based Bureau B, another label responsible for bringing much of Schnitzler's early catalog back into circulation, and finds Pyrolator (the solo guise of Kurt Dahlke, best known for his work as part of D.A.F., Der Plan, Fehlfarben, and many other groups) creating atmospheric, experimental techno tracks from the source material, exploring the more rhythmic side of Schnitzler's work. Pyrolator's reconstructions typically feature ambient washes along with minimal yet resonant kick drums, which are generally shadowy but are sometimes thrust into center stage, as on the dancefloor-ready "287 - 13." Several tracks play around with subtle beat trickery, reversing sounds or adding glitches. "296 - 16" flirts with growling bass and dubstep beats, and "316 - 16" is a full-on immersion into euphoric, arpeggio-heavy Euro-trance; these tracks are sure to aggravate listeners expecting the album to resemble Schnitzler's more outré work. Then again, this album probably wasn't meant for them anyway. Con-Struct is an intriguing, often thrilling album that demonstrates Schnitzler's influence on experimental techno while continually looking toward the future. ~ Paul Simpson