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Vril: Animist

"Vril hones in on a dub techno styling that fuses old school Echospace/
Basic Channel minimalism and progressive house to great effect"

At its best, dub techno taps into a primal sense of movement. Some of the best examples of the genre extend way beyond the 10 minute mark, and can be characterised by repetitive rhythms and patterns. What’s most effective is when a track taps into a beat and gets the listener locked in, where you’re entranced for the duration.

There’s an indescribable vibe present, where everything else is inconsequential and all that matters are the sounds emanating from your headphones or the speakers in a club. Whichever way you’re listening, what comes across as a simple formula is in reality a tricky balancing act between compelling and boring.

There are plenty of bedroom producers seeking to emulate Deepchord or J.S. Zeiter, for example, but few can match the soul that dwells beneath those sounds. Vril is one such producer fervently bearing the torch of dub techno, whilst also incorporating elements of ambient and experimental house music. His latest full length, ‘Animist’, is an immersive 12-track album that blankets the listener with blistering, recurring patterns and tones. At its highs, it’s an exemplary addition to the artist’s discography and justifies the cult hype that Vril has forged.

Animist’ takes its time before offering up any hammering, club-like tracks; instead, the album is constructed like a live set: teasing the listener with ambient/house hybrids bound with an intense, mutated dance rhythm. The album’s opening quarter highlights this dynamic, as the title track, “Love Rollout,” and “Zūkunftsstrāße” prime the listener for the appropriately titled “Katharsis.”

The latter’s sharp synths and persistent beat ebb and flow like a cascading wave careening through your speakers. It makes for an effective slow burn opening to ‘Animist,’ as the high energy tracks are matched by one or more slower tunes to hype you for the next build up.

The apex of ‘Animist’ arrives with the one-two punch of “Kuru” and “Anomal Beta.” Both tracks hone in on what Vril does best: hypnotic, reverberating bangers for the late night/early morning sets. “Kuru” immediately hooks you with its clanging percussion that makes way for warped, narcotic keys gliding along a crunchy vibe that you never want to stop. That same momentum fuels “Anomal Beta,” a similarly propulsive, floor-shaking epic.

Both tracks are prime examples of what’s so engrossing about dub techno: the ability of the producer to tap into a groove and get the listener to stop in their tracks and let the music wash over and absorb them for its duration. Each time I’ve spun ‘Animist’ whenever I hit this pair I forget whatever else I’m doing and stay honed in on the hypnotic pulse beaming out of my speakers.

Vril demonstrates an excellent command of his productions on ‘Animist,’ but at times the mid-tempo offerings are a bit amorphous and lag behind the exhilarating highs throughout the record. At a few junctures, two tracks imbued with an ambient dub flourish, “Terraformink” and “Unwelt,” don’t provide the adequate build up that was intended. It’s a rare instance that makes the hour plus runtime drag. Perhaps there’s an audio-visual accompaniment for future live shows that will make those songs come alive. On their own, they stretch on a bit too long and fizzle out, slightly diminishing the album’s intoxicating aura.

Despite this, it does not detract from the special nature of ‘Animist.” Vril hones in on a dub techno styling that fuses old school Echospace/Basic Channel minimalism and progressive house to great effect.

‘Animist’ is scheduled for release on 3 March via Delsin. Order a copy from Bandcamp.     


1. Animist
2. Love Rollout
3. Zūkunftsstrāße
4. Katharsis
5. Terraformink
6. Boom To The Moon
7. Unwelt
8. Kuru
9. Anomal Beta
10. Errorist
11. Mortem Cellula
12. Sohn