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DENSELAND -Code & Melody


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"Just because Denseland take inspiration from the past, doesn't mean they're stuck in it. On their first album since 2017, their second for Arbitrary, the Berlin-based trio instead ventures slowly but steadily into unknown territory. Hanno Leichtmann and Hannes Strobl's dub-infused, bass-heavy rhythmic minimalism in combination with lyricist David Moss's sonorous yet deadpan delivery opens up a space that feels both claustrophobic and infinitely wide. Like previous Denseland albums, Code & Melody picks up on the sparse side of dub-enamoured post-punk, no wave, post-rock, adventurous electronic and improvised acoustic music and blends this with a vocal performance marked by a Lou Reedian cool, a confrontationalism à la Lydia Lunch and, occasionally, an experimentalism akin to Scott Walker. The result is as unique and ambiguous as the record's title: Musical formal rigor enters into a dialogue with poetic reflections on the beautiful mess that is the human experience. The record's starting point were multiple improvisational sessions between Leichtmann and Strobl. Strobl used his electric bass and electric double bass, whose characteristic sounds "were expanded through the use of special playing techniques in combination with live electronics," as he explains. After adding overdubs to some of the recordings as well as guest contributions on three pieces by Katharina Bévand on modular synthesizer, the resulting tracks served as the perfect backdrop for Moss's performance. The sounds that accompany them on Codes & Melody complement that seamlessly: This is both physical and cerebral music, rigid and flexible, obsessed with the dialectic of repetition and difference -- with moving forward." - Arbitrary.

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