Dear Painter, Paint Me
This is the debut full-length release from Berlin-based Heartthrob aka Jesse Siminski. With Dear Painter, Paint Me, Siminski has assembled a remarkable collection of emotionally-charged, provocative, humorous, self-reflective techno tracks that continue the upward trajectory that started with the ubiquitous Baby Kate 12" and his genre-busting collaboration with Gaiser. As the title suggests (borrowed from a series of paintings by Martin Kippenberger), Heartthrob is a musician who wears his heart on his sleeve, and a maverick musician even within the M_nus ranks, focusing intently on the melodic, harmonic and tonal aspects of his music while openly railing against the "redundant percussive techno stuff" that currently clogs dancefloors. But that's not to say he lets up on the beats for a second, in fact, his tracks are equally characterized by a deep understanding of the formal and conceptual ideas that define and shape the M_nus sound. Add to that the mischievous time signatures, a penchant for the dramatic and an underlying sense of the absurd, and you have all the ingredients for a hi-octane rollercoaster ride. Following the continuous play CD format, the opening track "Future's Past" sets the emotional and structural tone for the next 50 minutes. Coming on like a funked-up John Carpenter movie theme, it's cinematic, big room techno at its best. Epic in proportions, "Confession" is one of the major achievements of the record and continues the expansive theme. Timeless techno strings drift in to dominate the first half of the track, while the lush soundscapes, hypnotic melodies and edgy peripheral efx combine to create a structurally complex, symmetrical arrangement. "Signs" (which has figured heavily in Richie Hawtin's sets) features a funky bass line, loose hi-hat groove and sci-fi vocal efx that soon make way for an urgent, cavorting melody. In a similar fashion, "Out Of Here" employs a crazy swing-beat groove in tandem with a fragile, otherworldly main motif. "Blind Item" is another linear groove that relies on an endlessly morphing, hypnotic hookline. "Interference" is a breathtaking example of edgy, paranoia-inducing techno. "Slow Dance" has a beautifully ugly main theme, pumping bass line and call-and-response percussion fills. "Heading For A Heartbreak" with its quirky, acid overtones has the feel of a 1960s sci-fi pilot theme that was just too far out to make into a series. It's a warm, satisfying end to an album that not only hints at so much more to come from this increasingly influential producer but will be one of the highlights of the summer and beyond.