MMM - On the Edge Music Album Reviews

MMM - On the Edge Music Album Reviews
The Berlin-based duo of Errorsmith and Fiedel push toward the extreme lower limits of danceability on a debut LP that’s stranger, woozier, and slower than anything they’ve made before.

For a quarter century, Berlin’s MMM have crafted rave anthems of unusually potent caliber. The duo of Errorsmith and Berghain resident Fiedel, MMM aren’t terribly prolific. Since their debut, in 1996, they’ve released just seven 12"s, all on their eponymous label, along with one half of an unusual split LP with German noise-rockers Surrogat and a handful of remixes. But their scant output is the fruit of dogged focus; each of their records feels carefully designed to make dancefloors go absolutely apeshit, using as few elements as possible.

Early on, MMM developed a knack for songs that not only move your body but practically pierce your skull. The 1997 anthem “Donna” and 2010’s “Nous Sommes MMM” brandish frequencies that whir like trepanning drills, steadily increasing in pressure over whip-cracking electro drums. In recent years, their music has grown even more unhinged, pushing energy levels into the red or stripping lysergic minimalism down to splintered bone. But On the Edge, their debut LP, represents a radical reversal. Gone are the seasick pitch-shifting, the blistering distortion, the bruising kick drum. In place of MMM’s usual white-knuckled intensity, the duo explores a vibe that’s stranger, woozier, and slower, shifting their attention from far-out psychedelia to the extreme lower limits of danceability.

The album begins in relatively upbeat territory: “Where to Go” is its most energetic track, coursing along upwards of 130 BPM. Yet it also displays a lightness of touch—a level of rhythmic and textural refinement—that feels new to their work. Though nominally four-to-the-floor, the kick drum falls only on the first and third beats of each bar, giving the rhythm a springy, moon-walking cadence; soft, syncopated chords suggest a reggae band covering Raymond Scott’s Soothing Sounds for Baby, while squirrelly little drum-machine fills add to the lighthearted air.

If you’re not paying attention, you might not even realize that what follows, “Everything Falls Into Place,” is a new song. It’s essentially a dub version of the opening track made with little more than glancing echoes of its glowing chords, the anti-matter to its matter. An overwhelming emptiness also defines the third track, “On the Edge,” which colors in the faintest percussive outline—skipping hi-hat, steady kick drum, occasional clap—with the dubbed-out ghost of a single chord. The equally vacuumed-out fourth track, “No Thought,” underscores the nothingness at the heart of the album.

The remaining tracks proceed like a balloon that’s steadily leaking air: Each one is a little bit slower and more enervated than the one before. “The Interview” deploys scraping cello—shades of Mica Levi—over staggering kick drum and clattering spring reverb. (“Everybody gets, you know, chills,” intones an unidentified woman, neatly summing up the effect. “When I don’t get those chills, I am very disappointed, and I just want to cry.”) “Farsta Dream” twists a mournful vocal melody over wraithlike chords; “When Does Ghosting End” collapses into a languid groove reminiscent of Andy Stott at his most soporific. By the end, with “So Nigh,” there’s nothing left but an eerily processed voice over lethargic kick drums, all of it soaked in the clammy reverb of a freeway underpass.

But for all the murk, these final tracks are never actually gloomy. Even with their boots stuck deep in the mud, MMM remain fundamentally playful, and even at its darkest, their music is distinguished by its lightness of spirit. When MMM played Krakow’s Unsound Festival last month, their set skewed heavily toward On the Edge, but even way down in the double-digit BPMs, they kept the peak-time crowd engaged. The low end was voluminous and enveloping; their trademark hi-hats were sharp as scalpels. It was a good reminder of the risks that dance music can take. MMM have proven time and again that they’re masters of the full-on; with On the Edge, they show that emptied out can be just as satisfying.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
MMM - On the Edge Music Album Reviews MMM - On the Edge Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on November 23, 2021 Rating: 5


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