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Go BackMartin Buttrich hunts down another hit

Posted: 2/11/07 9:21

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Maybe it's not funny in German, but in the English speaking world anyone saddled with a surname like "Buttrich" is in for a very rough time in the playground. Perhaps as compensation for the unfortunate moniker, fate saw fit to gift Martin Buttrich with both a staggering quantity of musical talent and a disarmingly nice personality to boot. With over a decade of remixing, engineering and collaboration under his belt Martin has honed his natural abilities to a painfully sharp edge.

No wonder his first solo releases were certifiable "instant classics" like Full Clip and Well Done. But can he continue to push the standard higher? The godawful Well Done Remixes which snuck out earlier in the year indicated that something was afoot in Buttrich world. At the time we could only hope it was the result of bad management/marketing decisions rather than a fall from creative grace.

To our relief, his new single Hunter tends to confirm those rotten remixes were a one-off wobble. On the evidence, none of Buttrich's magical ability to summon living sound from inanimate objects has deserted him. In keeping with a recent trend for saving the best for last it's b-side Hunted that offers the most immediate rewards. A deep beat suggestive of footsteps stomping down a darkened street is a suggestive counterpoint to lush melodies and an arch female voice commanding "sleep/walk/feel/breath...." There is a definite old school feel about the track. Maybe it's the suggestion of Madonna's Vogue in the vocal or maybe it's just the pitch-perfect proggy synths, but it sounds like something you might have heard and very much enjoyed while in an altered state in a clubbing venue of questionable legality about 10 years ago. Not in the sense that the tune sounds that old – it doesn't – but in that it will make you feel like you did, way back then.

A-side Hunter fails to forge quite the same emotional connection. It is serious techno for serious people. And none the worse for it, if that's your thing. Without the immediacy of a vocal hook it takes longer to get involved with. On first listen the modulated low-key techno cut is like a high-end refrigerator: beautifully designed but cold inside. It rewards patience though. Its perfectly placed kicks and grumbling bassline soak in. Listen carefully. This is "journey" music – as in, it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. There aren't any cataclysmic payoffs, no "whooo hooo" moments – just a well crafted wander through a dusky musical netherworld.

DJs will love it for its impeccable engineering, the rest of us will be slowly seduced by it.

Words by Mari Lou