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British techno outfit Germ are one of the most influential, under-recognized forces of innovation in the European experimental electronic music scene. Formative figures on the early U.K. techno map, Germ (along with the General Production Recordings label, through which they've released the entirety of their catalog) were defining the vocabulary of "composerly" dance-based electronic listening music long before labels such as Warp, Rephlex, and Rising High (labels which have since received a good deal of the credit for inventing same) existed. Adapting many of dance music's formal characteristics to decidedly non-dancefloor ends, Germ combine the tropes of techno, house, and electro with a conceptual base deriving from contemporary classical, electro-acoustic, industrial, and experimental jazz. Although the band is most closely associated with Birmingham's Tim Wright, Germ is actually a group effort, including contributions from trombonist Hilary Jeffrey, double-bassist Matt Miles, and producer Jon Dalby (who has also recorded a number of EPs for GPR under his own name). Germ have released a pair of full-length albums and several singles to date, consistently pushing techno's synthetic, highly deterministic structures into new areas of complexity and chance, drawing most often from jazz and industrial/musique-concrete. Inspired by other dance deviants such as the Black Dog, BEAST (an artist collective in Wright's native Birmingham, which Wright credits with sparking an interest in electronics-based composition early on), and the On-U Sound stable, Germ's focus on texture, chance, and movement within the context of dance music's reliance on minimal, repetitive rhythmic figures also allies them with 20th-century composers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass.
© Sean Cooper /TiVo


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