“I remember you like techno”, he said, pulling out his phone: “listen to this.”
As the song played from his phone speakers, he smiled a radiant smile. This, I realised (and not for the first time), was a man who lives and breathes music; his desire to share his passion is utterly symbolic of this. If you have the pleasure of meeting Herr Sibold, it becomes quickly apparent that he just can’t live without sound.
This enthusiasm for all things music is perhaps best observed through the range of Sibold’s production styles. Compare the old-school soulfulness of his releases for Caramelo (such as ‘Dome’) to the lnnervisions-esque focus of ‘Gestade’ or ‘Madeleine’, and you see stark differences. This variety carries inherent risks; these can often be seen if certain releases lack the ‘feel’ of someone who loves the music they create. There is no such issue with Sibold, and one gets the feeling there never will be.
This comes across lucidly in ‘Mutter’, out on Running Back (alongside a beatless version on the B side), in a release which draws huge influence from acid and progressive trance, fusing them almost seamlessly. Think Dan Avery meeting summer trance.
Straight off the bat, this release should be seen as an achievement for Running Back, a label so fantastically varied that nothing should come as a surprise now. ‘Mutter’ adds a vibe to its catalogue aimed at the celebration of a particular season, without departing from its benchmark of quality in any way. Beginning with a thudding kick and chugging, arpeggiated acid bassline in combination, it is direct, and focused firmly around the 4×4 feel. As the sub-bass kicks in, and the resonance on the 303 oscillates in waves, the feeling of progression commences. More specifically, the beginnings of a space odyssey emerge.
As the main, delayed, high arpeggiated sequence emerges alongside the bass at 1.30, the progressive trance begins to dance with the acid. A major key feel emerges, evoking the first feelings of summer. A sense of real movement is created by the delay, which pushes the arp forward convincingly. The background strings add a celebratory layer; these grow stronger at 2.30 to the point that they are straining, but don’t truly come out to sing, in turn allowing the intended elements to take centre stage.
In, then, comes some automation to the higher arp, alongside some shakers. The straightness of the percussion keeps a firm emphasis on the 4×4 feel of the kick and bass which, together, drive the track superbly for 10 minutes. The hats and rides at 4.22 are mixed in conservatively; just loud enough for a hands-up effect, just quiet enough to allow the arp and bass to maintain centre stage.
Like with his set, there is the distinct feel at this point that the track is beginning to peak. At a summer festival, the hands would be up, the sun shining. The kick would drop out, and the cut-off of the arp again increase for one more euphoric, eyes-closed moment. As the elements re-emerge, one realises they’ve been drawn into the track hook, line and sinker. It’s impossible not to feel good when listening to this, imagining being transported to the likes of the summery woodland of Gottwood or Farr.
The decrescendo, signified by the cut-off of the acid bass decreasing, is well-timed; the track feels like it arrives at a natural conclusion, which is a skill that, as a fellow producer, I hugely admire, and one that was definitely needed to maintain the euphoria of the track. As the final few seconds of arp and sub commence, with the kick having been taken out, the shuttle lands back on earth; only then does one begin to truly realise the restraint employed by Sibold. The strings remain in the background, the pads are teased in and out, and perhaps the most impressive thing about this track is that it can be so euphoric but yet leave the listener craving for so much more.
It’s this mixture: restraint, euphoria, and a love for the music, that makes ‘Mutter’ an excellent release.
Words: Alex Parkin
- Review: Konstantin Sibold - Mutter