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Red alert! One of Berlin’s most iconic and recognized underground producers is back with his new album A Sole Game. Following up 2012’s Square, Redshape continues to forge distinctly cinematic and suspenseful dance music, blurring lines of past, present and future. As a true disciple of 90’s techno, those era’s sounds have always been an essential part of his musical DNA, while ever avoiding any form of reenactment. On full-length records in particular, his tracks build dark and eerily romantic narratives of their own. In fact, A Sole Game is the first genuine Redshape LP ever.
Sebastian Kramer may have kept his Redshape project faceless in the past, but his music has been driven by strong personality at all times. That said, there have always been role models he used to follow on his albums. “I always tried to do my own interpretation of something I really liked,” Kramer himself puts it. For The Dance Paradox, his 2009 debut on Delsin Records, his old love for the Chemical Brother’s organic sound made him incorporate live drums. On his second album Square he recreated Brian Eno’s 70’s tape-looping setups. A Sole Game marks a departure from this slightly imitative approach, spawning his most self-aware record to date. The album title hints at this process of self-reflection: If this whole business of music making is nothing more than a big game, an album is the only chance for the players to show their real skills. Redshape has long since gained an exalted position. Now, he’s confidently defending it.
In typical Redshape style, the eight tracks of A Sole Game take you on a journey through nighttime worlds and dusky industrial landscapes haunted by howls and other strange voices. It’s obvious that one of the most important goals was to craft a perfectly seamless whole of an electronic album that works without interludes or what others would consider “album material”. Each track is a universe of its own and ready to be played in a club. A limited amount of instruments made it possible for the songs to sound quite homogenous despite being constructed very diversely. Most of the melodic structures stem from a Prophet 12 synth, most of the drums from the duo of 808 and 909, providing a warm and analogue sound. This kind of traditionalist techno setup allowed for a fast and immediate workflow while recording the foundations of each track. Later on, Kramer took these recordings and elaborately arranged and processed them, trying to maintain the sometimes naive and pure emotions of the initial recordings and establish an organic feel. By fusing this proper songwriter approach with the codes of techno, Redshape takes a big step forward in his musical evolution.