Kobosil belongs to a group of artists that I always keep an eye on. He’s probably one of my favorite techno producers at the moment for the simple reason that his music has a particular mood I enjoy: dark and full of character.
The first time Kobosil caught my ear was when Marcel Dettmann sent me his first EP on MDR, EIN. I had never heard of him before, and although I expected something interesting, I was still totally surprised by my first listen. All the tracks were excellent. I was immediately caught up in Kobosil’s universe. When I later met him on an early Sunday morning in Berghain, we had a nice chat about music and I saw that he’s an artist who’s totally into researching the history of electronic music, from EBM to new wave, industrial and electronica. In 2015, actually he did a remix for my EBM track “Aktion Mekanik Theme”, and it was brilliant. This new album flirts with industrial moods and integrates some ambient soundscapes as well.
It’s great to know that Kobosil is a young artist and that this is just the beginning of what we’ll see from him. But you can’t tell his age by listening to his music, which has a lot to say, is extremely precise and shows a surprisingly mature personality. His first album confirms everything: it has his vision and shows his aptitude for not focusing exclusively on heavy 4/4. It’s really immersive with lots of attitude, and there’s a symbiotic relationship between all the tracks. The tension starts with “Telling The Truth”. He’s in control; he knows where he wants to go. The sounds he uses are raw and reflect a kind of coldness while keeping a groove that warms up everything, as on “To See Land”. He opens the album’s horizons with the more intimate “Reflection”, then slowly rebuilds a strange atmosphere on “The Exploring Mountain”.
Some tracks, like “Aim For Target”, treat the special soul of ‘90s techno in a modern way. This track in particular stays with you and instantly solidifies in your memory. Kobosil doesn’t hesitate to get introspective, either. Atmospheric offerings like “Eihwaz” could serve as soundtracks for Alien or one of David Lynch’s films. “The Living Ritual” has a more EBM orientation, which speaks very well to me through his basslines. And I love the hypnotic, linear quality of “When I Speak”, which channels the sound of previous tracks in a new direction.
With the last track, “They Looked On”, we reach a certain peace. It’s a beautiful closing track with a controlled melody—not too much melody, just enough to be right. It is the perfect way to finish the album. Overall, We Grow, You Decline is both obscure and intimate with a nice sense of movement. Kobosil’s style becomes clearer and more evident as you listen through the album: all its different soundscapes are notable for the omnipresence of reverb and a rough quality that fits with the Berghain imaginary. The future of proper techno is in good hands.
Published February 11, 2016.