Tim Koch – Tourbillon

5 out of 5

Label: Central Processing Unit

Produced by: Tim Koch

Haunting, dark IDM.

Tim Koch’s previous CPU release, Spinifex, met me about halfway, jumping between styles and holding back from a more dedicated groove. Koch’s control over the sound was undeniable, but it also felt like he was rummaging through ideas, perfecting them for a few minutes at a time and then moving on.

Tourbillon is, apparently, a piece of watch mechanics used to aid their accuracy. It’s an interesting term to bear in mind for the same-named EP from Koch, which is, on the one hand, looser and edgier than Spinifex, but surely more focused, driving deep into junkyard clatter and amorphous beats for 6-minute stretches. That makes it sound noisy, which the production supports, letting its effects go fuzzy and backmasking elements, but it’s absolutely tuneful as well, each song finding a moody, grinding rhythm to circle around. Occasionally this is grimey, as on opener Estranger, but then followup Disfugue applies a similar tonality to something a bit more slippery, and nervy. Dreitark advances this with notes of futurism, but also allows more room for deconstruction, which carries over into the Aphex-y disassembled closer Hankert.

As usual, I am undoubtedly butchering my electronic genres and comparisons, but the main takeaway is how Tourbillon leans in to the darker side of the scene, exploring the precision suggested by its title to set each track kicking, then pushing at their edges, more and more, as the tracks go on. It’s very confident, and a mix of brash effects – a lot of clipped beats and distortion – with rhythmic, delicate flourish atop. It stands out. And, as a possible resurgence of sorts of Tim Koch as a composer (his Discogs output has has steady releases in the early 00s, but then a break up until the last few years), is suggestive of some great things to come.