Anyone worried that Gerald Donald (or Heinrich Mueller, as he sometimes prefers to be called) […]
Anyone worried that Gerald Donald (or Heinrich Mueller, as he sometimes prefers to be called) had disappeared down a wormhole of aimless flinty arpeggios and pseudoscience (or oblique scientific references, at least) would be wise to check his latest EP as the ringleader of Dopplereffekt, his long-running group with Kim Karli, Michaela To-Nhan Bertel, and William Scott. Granted, the track themes on Tetrahymena are as vaguely related to the music as they’ve ever been (says Wikipedia: “Tetrahymena are free-living ciliate protozoa that can also switch from commensalistic to pathogenic modes of survival. They are common in freshwater ponds.”) and the vast majority of the producer’s (or producers’) steely traits are on display. Familiar though these aspects may be, the record offers some of Dopplereffekt’s most urgent material since its days exploring telecommunication and pornography.
The opening title track is a electro stormer, redolent of Donald associate DJ Stingray in its high-energy bounce. The track is loaded with flange shifts, which lends it a great deal of movement, while an eerie synth chorus intermittently punctuates the proceedings. “Gene Silencing” is slower and steppier, and its interplay between a catchy, zapped-out bassline and a high, blippy arpeggio harkens to the group’s poppier days. The beatless “Zygote” closes the record with another, seemingly more unstable arpeggio and a kind of sharp, fluctuating flutter. It’s not as immediate as its predecessors, but it fits in nicely all the same. As legendary a figure as Donald is, his interest in minimalism has betrayed him in the past. This is not the case here, as he absolutely capitalizes on a stark but evocative palette, and perhaps most importantly, reintroduces a pop aspect to the project.