New Atlantis

New Atlantis

Efdemin (Berlin’s Phillip Sollmann) is among minimal techno’s most sensuous producers: No matter how reduced his arrangements, his sounds are unusually sumptuous. That fullness of tone comes to the fore on New Atlantis, his first album for Ostgut Ton, the label arm of Berlin’s iconic Berghain nightclub. Unlike that club’s famously austere, industrial vibe, New Atlantis is more inspired by Indian ragas—that’s a hurdy-gurdy in the opening track—and 1960s minimalists like Terry Riley and La Monte Young, along with Sollmann’s electroacoustic experiments in improvisation and installation art. New Atlantis can go hard: “A Land Unknown” is a driving cut that weds microtonal drones to the rigid pulse of classic trance, while “Black Sun” plays Detroit techno’s plush synths off a stern, thumping kick drum. But cuts like “At the Stranger’s House” and “The Sound House” step away from the dance floor to explore shimmering fields of pure texture, and “Oh, Lovely Appearance of Death” even incorporates an 18th-century Methodist hymn about the divine beauty of mortality—making New Atlantis an example of minimal techno that’s as heartfelt as it is heady.

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