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Gradual: Ipseity

On their debut album, Berlin based artists Michal and Lee serve up six tracks of solid left field techno residing at the darker end of the spectrum. Packing late night dark room pressure with krautrock, new wave and minimal influences, the duo pull no punches yet aren’t afraid to pepper their productions with melody, widescreen ambience and modular trickery.

There’s an ethos here that should greatly appeal to fans of atmospheric techno such as Antigone’s “Blue Note” or Karenn’s “Pace Yourself” as Gradual explore the art of precision tooled kick drums, expertly timed high hat introduction, muted Millsian looped repetitions and ethereal melody.

Primed for the dance floor, there are plenty of production techniques instilling the feeling of a DJ manipulating two tracks into one – witness the low end cut off and filter tweaks building tension on “Abandoned Train” and “Tango Down” for example. There are also treats for the home listener – obscure psychedelic melodies weave their way into “Dione” and yearning, haunted pads envelope “Jovis” and the sublime “Aton Tehun”.

With a feeling of continuous propulsion throughout, the closing minutes on some of these tracks usher in new expectations and directions whilst repeated listens reveal subtle nuances and twists. Overall, ‘Ipseity’ is exactly the kind of stuff you want to hear at 4am in a darkened sweatbox with nothing but a flashing strobe and a punchy sound system – an excellent and extremely assured debut.

Ipseity is out now (27th November 2015), order a digital copy of the album via Bandcamp.


1. Abandoned Train
2. Dione
3. Jovis
4. Tango Down
5. Aton Tehen
6. Ancient Gardens

Discover more about Gradual and Gradual Records on Inverted Audio.