Toby Esterhaus – Technotheque

Artist : Toby Esterhaus
Album : Technotheque
Label : Erikoisdance
Release Date : June 2017
Link : //
Reviewer: Wayne Rex

Techno espionage, undercover electronica, psychedelic spying, perhaps? These are the images that I conjured up before even hitting the play button on the zip file press release pack that I received, albeit without the ‘Top Secret’ moniker that one would possibly, expect from such a cleverly disguised name from a very much infamous, fictional character.

What followed, once downloaded, was 21 tracks of gloriously provocative titled and even more thought provoking, spirit rousing, techno electronica.

The Vienna Incident is the first track, with it’s pulsating bass, sinister backing accompaniment and with a constantly changing snare beat, keeping you on your toes like a robot that is alive but not quite wired how the constructor had hoped for. This is all too short of a track but a perfect opener.

Sat on the Ice Beach at Brekstad with her is track two. A dark electronic piece, with a melancholic feel throughout as if it was the last time something beautiful would ever happen to you. A final goodbye, perhaps? The end of an era? With it’s 8 bit composition, it’s got a real fictional futuristic sound, like a Nintendo John Carpenter soundtrack.

Downtown drift system is a strange, dream like sequence of repetition and fairy tale like beauty. Has undertones of madness, which I like, and then like a gust of wind, it’s over and on to the next track.

Ac_Id follows suit and has an altogether different vibe and feel from the tracks previous. Still a short track but full of robotic bounce and imaginative techno creation.

Porous Borders reminds me of a submarine in the dark waters of the future. Very subtle and interesting sounds going on and meticulously put together like a mathematical formulae.

Stuck in Stuttgart is like Ronseal, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Dark, East German, techno. Full of strange, and sinister atmosphere and quite terrifying at times as you genuinely start to believe that you could be stuck in Stuttgart with the whole intelligence service after you. The first track that I am glad is short as I don’t think my old ticker could take another minute of the intensity.

Cryptogeist is up next and this, out of what I have heard previously, is the hardest to descripe of define, so I don’t think I will try and bother. All I will say is it is a superbly crafted piece of ambient electronica, dark in feel but also quite bubbly.

Maximillian Kupas is a very strange and complicated track of beats and sounds, like a conversation between two computers, plotting to take over from the humans or just chewing the fat. Really digging the surprise vocal sample and it fits perfectly with everything that is going on here.

Metrik is how I would describe as a piece of techno perfection. Great drum samples and noises. Interesting time signatures and enough going on to keep it interesting whilst hypnotising you with it’s trance like feel. If I wasn’t so English, I think I would have to get up to dance.

Lil Martian, is such a different and imaginative track. Probably my favourite so far. It’s easy to listen to but also remarkable challenging with it’s time signatures and use of samples and noises. It starts out all cute and then gets quite dark. Lil Martian is possibly a serial killer. You think he is your harmless dream and turns out he wants to gut you and feed on your flesh.

If Tom Waits was to make his debut, writing a piece for a techno album, then this next track ‘ Now that you’re dead’ would be it. Full of beautiful melancholy and industrial percussion but with a distinct old time country feel. Love it!!

You instantly start to want to shake your rump with this next track ‘Blackhole’ But then it’s over with before you have even fully got up and there is something comforting about that. That is true control of the audience that DJ’s only wish they could accomplish.

The next track is almost like one of those tracks that the artist has decided to play in reverse. Unfilm chase sequence is quite an apt title from the images the music conjures up.

Steve Strange = what a glorious but all too short 55 seconds of superb music. From the quoted start to the final, it’s just magnificent.

The Chemical Basis of Memory is track 15. Robot frog crossed with a commodore 64 and fuck loads of drugs. C’est Magnifique as the French would say.

Huntress Unit, in my humble opinion is the single off the album. It’s strange and unique but accessible for all type of music taste. I dig how it builds up ever so subtly and then, alas just ends as you’re about to get into it.

Wow, this is a bit dark for such a sunny day. Eerie, sinister, futuristic, murderous and full of treachery. Dissolving Michael is a musical interpretation of a dastardly plan.

The beats that hit you are modern and fresh (sorry for the street talk) like something Kanye West would create and ruin with ego. This however has all the modern and advanced percussive beats but with a sense of genuine music for the sake of the song and concept. The Informer, kicks butt!

YOU! come and goes quicker than a local builder after his first cuppa tea on a job.

Contemptible Pacer is the musical journey of a defibrillator that has gone rogue. To my ears, anyway.

To end, this all too short but stunningly crafted and imagined album is Markov’s Piano. Again, to my ears this has a distinct Tom Waits vibe to it, but altogether darker than what millionaire Tom Waits could possibly imagine. It’s the perfect track to end this most enjoyable musical journey.

There is a sample of all tracks on Soundcloud but official release is tape format, only. I suggest you buy yourself a copy as you will want to hear this again and again, to hear all the surprise bits you didn’t quite hear, first time around.

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