A few years ago, minimal techno crossed over into mainstream clubbing in much of Europe, leading to the use of the term to describe tech house in general and to complaints by purists that the words had lost their meaning. Ellen Allien is definitely one of the artists who’s benefited from this shift, since her electro tendencies and pop sensibilities allowed her albums to cross over into the indie world as well as nightclubs.
On Sool, she turns her back on both those worlds, instead coming up with a genuinely minimal album, and one aimed at home listening at that. It’s dark, odd, off-kilter and extremely sparse but has a gentle wandering quality that makes it surprisingly easy to listen to. It’s somewhere between Ricardo Villalobos’s wild-eyed freakouts and Robert Hood’s perfectly precise little loops of understated computer funk.
Ellen Allien plays the Social Monday (May 5).