Johannes Heil ‎– Per Disciplinum Mea Lux Videbis

UTurn Records ‎– UT11
2 × Vinyl, 12"


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January 28, 2011
The third Johannes Heil release on U-Turn, despite being my least favorite, is arguably the one where his production maturity really begins to shine through. While "Die offenbarung" [UT06] and "Der tod" [UT09] consolidated Heil’s very often neglected and underestimated place as one of the true originators of the so-called german schranz style techno, on "Per disciplinum mea lux videbis", he keeps the intensity and the gloomy mood, yet approaches the music with more introspect and intimacy.
Separated by three beatless, eerie interludes, each of which features creepy organ chords and demented harp strings, the album starts on a well known note: from the starting beat of A1, we’re in familiar Heil territory, with relentlessly loud 4x4 drum kicks going on and on for ten minutes, getting ran over by nerve wrecking high-pitched sequences. Something to devastate the dance floors, not as intense as the A1 Offenbarung track for example, but still slightly irritating and repetitive, which I enjoy.
B2 is a crawling, scary piece, with a disturbing, haunting violin melody used as a hook. Trippy as hell and very dark. Something to play at dark in your room. No cheating though, pull the shades down as well, and I guarantee those strings will give you a goosebump rush!
On the C side we have another excursion into the opaque. A very minimal, monotonous and oppressive tune with a reverberating metallic sequence as its primary driving force, and lo-fi industrial hiss and crackle in the background, all of it backed up by subtle 4x4 drums. Pretty demented if you ask me, although you have to be in the mood for it. Amassing density as it progresses, it never really goes anywhere, which is not bad on its own, what is worse is that it’s just not suitable for any particular situation, due to its length and substance. Yeah, I like my techno pretty tweaked and mental, but this one loses the ‘tweak’ part pretty fast, and as far as the mental aspect goes, my mind frequently wanders off in another direction while listening to this. However, patience is a virtue, and under the right circumstances, this will make your eyeballs do a 720.
The last track just might show you that Jeff Mills’ output on his fresh Something In The Sky imprint isn’t as innovative as many make it out to be. Hypnotic, stripped down to the core elements arrangements aided by constant subaquatic pulses and bleeps complemented with a radar sending off distress signals to whoever might be listening. It literary sounds like a (kill me for saying it) superior version of many Mills’ tools off those records. Utterly mesmerizing, narrow and linear as though it was encapsulated in a sound progression torpedo, with nowhere to move but forward and then back. If that’s your thing, you’ll love this one!
Overall, this double pack is less club focused, even to the more experienced DJ, but in return offers a bunch of malignant, impervious atmospheres and cloudy sounds. Maybe not a step above his previous screeching, stomping output, but a clear change of direction, something the genius that is Johannes Heil has done too many times to count during his career. A producer of his caliber has tried his hand in so many styles that it’s kind of difficult to pigeonhole him anywhere. Definitely a brave release, aimed more at demanding living room listening sessions than wilding out at the club. Just as the previous two vinyls on U-Turn, this is worth owning, but don’t expect the adrenaline inducing madness of Der Tod or anything similar. To Heil fans, this is every bit as compulsory as some of his most lauded and generally appreciated work, such as Die Eigene Achse, "20,000 leagues under the skin", the eclecticism of "The world", etc… Tapping around in the dark hasn’t been this fun for a long time!