Techno for the soul
Ellen Allien is a German techno powerhouse and label boss, who takes classic techno staples and injects them with a dark, industrial energy. Much of her discography is a cavernous and droning wall of mechanical techno rhythms over experimental vocal processing and synth work. Her newest project, Auraa, features much of this aesthetic, an IDM flavor that accentuates the experimentation and improvisation that can make a Techno DJ cathartic. Allien prioritizes evolution and detail in her music; filters and knob twisting sculpt each synth, experimental vocal textures interrupt to pull listeners away from life.
A Kraftwerk influence permeates through the music, acidic sequenced bass lines give the music a psychedelic and nostalgic quality while head smashing bass drums bounce off the walls. The vintage synths and drum machines on “Confusion” come sequenced to perfection and dipped in a blade runner sound palette. “Hello Planet Earth” has so much going on, a soup of detuned synths and drum beats holds people’s attention and keeps people’s head banging in confusion. “True Romantics” also shines, the crushing bass lines are here, but in between beautifully eerie notes echoing in the distance. “Truam” is sandstorm-esq, the screaming bass notes matched with icy synth plucks. It’s easy to pick out Alliens influences but she is able to put her own stamp on the style and try something new.
Allien’s music is clouded in a mechanical angst. A beautiful but crushing other-dimensional percussive onslaught. Effectively carrying a unique style and story through a cohesive project, Auraa showcases Allien’s production chops and never ending experimentation. It’s an album that can be listened to in an underground German rave or with headphones at home.