Code & Melody
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Edition of 300 copies, digipak w/ metallic Pantone print
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1Between The Click And The Hush 5:06
2Hot Stove Consciousness 4:13
3Going Up The Going Down 4:54
4Serotonin Seeker 4:52
5Four Humans And A Rope 4:05
6Sample The World 4:16
7Harder Than Gravity 4:19
8Beyond Decision 3:30

Just because Denseland take inspiration from the past, doesn’t mean they're stuck in it. On their first album since 2017, their second for arbitrary, the Berlin-based trio instead ventures slowly but steadily into unknown territory. Hanno Leichtmann and Hannes Strobl’s dub-infused, bass-heavy rhythmic minimalism in combination with lyricist David Moss’s sonorous yet deadpan delivery opens up a space that feels both claustrophobic and infinitely wide. Like previous Denseland albums, »Code & Melody« picks up on the sparse side of dub-enamoured post-punk, no wave, post-rock, adventurous electronic and improvised acoustic music and blends this with a vocal performance marked by a Lou Reedian cool, a confrontationalism à la Lydia Lunch and, occasionally, an experimentalism akin to Scott Walker. The result is as unique and ambiguous as the record’s title: Musical formal rigour enters into a dialogue with poetic reflections on the beautiful mess that is the human experience.

The record’s starting point were multiple improvisational sessions between Leichtmann and Strobl. Strobl used his electric bass and electric double bass, whose characteristic sounds »were expanded through the use of special playing techniques in combination with live electronics,« as he explains. Leichtmann used a new set-up, »a mixture of electronic drum sample modules and acoustic percussion mangled through an array of real-time loopers instead of my AKAI MPC and acoustic drums that I added later like I did on previous records.« He notes that the two worked also without a click track or anything else that would quantise their performance. After adding overdubs to some of the recordings as well as guest contributions on three pieces by Katharina Bévand on modular synthesizer, the resulting tracks served as the perfect backdrop for Moss’s performance. »I wrote short packets of rhythmic, repeated phrases before the recording process began,« he says. »Then, as I listened to the tracks, I found ways to intone and change the texts at each moment to fit their pulses and moods.«

From the first words »Take away the city lights / Take my arms / Put them anywhere« to the last ones, »It is the perfect moment for infinite repeat / It’s that like hawks we are / Like hawks we are / Beyond decision,« Moss enigmatic and at times humorously absurd lyrics add even more depth to the album. »They are all centred on the future, the body, as well as our desires and drives as human beings,« he explains. The sounds that accompany them on »Codes & Melody« complement that seamlessly: This is both physical and cerebral music, rigid and flexible, obsessed with the dialectic of repetition and difference—with moving forward. Welcome to Denseland, where would you like to go next?

Written, recorded and produced by Denseland 2023 in Berlin
Mastered by Kassian Troyer at Dubplates & Mastering
Artwork: Denseland and Mads Emil Nielsen
Text: Kristoffer Cornils