Dettinger
Intershop


4.5
superb

Review

by robertsona STAFF
September 20th, 2022 | 7 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The quiet-whiplash effect of Intershop only resonates because the sounds are so precise and alluring.

A recent album I really liked was Ulla’s Tumbling Through a Wall, which I felt had an appealing structure, each song materializing out of the ether to explore and loop a few attractive ambient motifs–a synth drone, a skittering drumbeat, a lightly-borne piano line–before fading out and moving on to model another set of equally compelling, though fundamentally delicate and soft, aural forms. Dettinger’s Intershop, the first-ever LP on Wolfgang Voigt’s Kompakt label, works through the fundamental, Brian Eno-motivated question of ambient music–is it always “backgrounded” by its own quietude and tendency toward repetition, or can it graduate to the level of active listening material?--in a manner similar to Tumbling. Every song is rendered as a detailed miniature, starting with a basic rhythmic and melodic loop and adding effects and little harmonic twists to generate pace and flow. The relationship between the parts and the whole on an album like this is interesting to witness, because the parts don’t quite fit together or sonically reference each other, but each track is immensely pleasing to listen to in and of themselves. This pleasantry, somewhat unexpectedly, lends the album its cohesion. Were Dettinger’s tracks rendered a bit more uniform across the board, perhaps his sophisticated musical instincts would sound considerably more phoned-in; were his attention to the contours of individual clicks and clacks and synth pad moans less finely tuned, perhaps the album’s haphazard construction would seem a bit too restless.

Be glad, then, that all of these elements work in harmony with each other. The quiet-whiplash effect of Intershop only resonates because the sounds are so precise and alluring. The album’s incredibly therapeutic second track provides a vivid example, as bitcrushed sonic vacillations contend with a gorgeous whalesong drone and ticking-clock percussion, generating a bevy of glitch effects that counterintuitively serve to calm one’s mind (cf. Aix Em Klemm, Keith Fullerton Whitman). Though the album is very minimal and songs develop very gradually if at all, it goes by in a flash. Dettinger’s masterful level of control over his constituent musical stems is fully engaged here, and his dub bona fides generate an enveloping spaceyness that allows the listener’s mind to wander and then to snap back to reality, shuttling seamlessly between these experiential poles of activity and passivity as we become aware of ourselves in relationship to the music–our bodies, the temperature of the room we’re in.

Slow cinema and ambient music have meant a lot to me historically as ways of formally embodying and straight-up encouraging a state of mindfulness. Intershop encourages and embodies mindfulness through its loopy (internal to each song) and jumpy (descriptive of the album as a whole) structures, and is also great study music, almost always laying down an exceedingly modest rhythm to drive you forward even as you’re pushed into contemplation by the droning harmonics. As with Brian Eno’s original intent for and description of ambient music, there’s something very “practical” at the heart of Intershop’s aesthetic, establishing for the listener a context in which to seek out their own thoughts and feelings without too much interjection on the music’s part. (The album also, to me, sounds a bit like I imagine does the functioning of the human brain; this “biological” sensation, and the dubby approach to production, brings to mind the Basic Channel compilation BCD.) Intershop is very pretty and just a bit fussy and a total breeze of a listen for fans of classic ambient techno, dub, and drone music. Its goals are relatively modest, but this underrated gem of sonic minimalism works on the brain, heart, and ears in a way that has rarely been matched since. Background, foreground, figure, atmosphere: Intershop contains it all, strolling at a leisurely pace through different modes of engagement, hardly breaking a sweat in the process. If only our own real-life fluctuations would take on as elegant a form as does Intershop--would that life could make us whole instead of a dazzlingly, infuriatingly incomplete collection of always-shifting parts. For now, we have albums like Intershop, albums that allow us to dream lucidly about future days of repletion, integration, and utter completeness.



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user ratings (7)
4.1
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2022


23780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

more more moooooORRRREEEE

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2022


23780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

amazing study/work music

Source
September 20th 2022


19671 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

awesome album, oasis is even better

gnardude
September 20th 2022


10 Comments


excellent review, love the references to Tumbling Through a Wall, never connected the two before but it makes a lot of sense. thanks for this.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2022


23780 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks! yeah it's a random reference point but felt right, that's a great album

luci
September 21st 2022


12844 Comments


yeah this is exceptional, blond and oasis are also essential

amazing study/work music [2]

Yotimi
September 24th 2022


7657 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[3]

Great stuff



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