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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari


“GROBEK I is a superb album where the complexity remains accessible with this fascinating rhythmic vision of Jörg Erren and Christian Steffen”

1 Elements 5:22

2 Gravity 4:34

3 Goeree Overflakkee 8 8:01

4 Tadpole 6:27

5 Time Marches On 6:09

6 Polarity 8:58

7 Contention 5:44

8 Upstream 6:36

9 Conclusion 5:54

(DDL 57:50) (V.F.)

(Sequencer-based Berlin & Düsseldorf School)

GROBEK! What it is and what does that eat? No idea, but it's damn good electronic music. Do you remember EFSS? It's from the left butt of this quartet that we owe this brilliant GROBEK I. Available for download only, this opus of 9 tracks spread over almost an hour of EM that is the fruit of a collaboration between Jörg Erren and Christian Steffen who meet occasionally since the beginning of 2010 in Ouddorp. Five albums came out of these planned jam sessions, of which the last Tidal Shift last year included the 4 members; Erren, Fleißig, Schöttler & Steffen. The focal point of these 5 albums is Jörg Erren who participated in all albums, 2 with Von Hallgath and 3 with EFSS. Less complex than Tidal Shift, GROBEK I offers a range of rhythms that flirt between Berlin School and the Düsseldorf School.

Particles of sound are jumping in the opening of Elements. We immediately notice the analog taste of the music with these elastic leaps that a first sound wave tries to slow down. The opposite is happening. Assisted by superb percussive effects and this disjointed voice reciting a poem while hiccupping, the rhythm remains rich and dynamic. Synth layers, with a very Tangerine Dream colors, are juxtaposed to this good spasmodic structure difficult to dance on, but totally catchy. The sound effects abound with an insertion that considers the already existing richness that surrounds the primary rhythm. If the rhythm is catchy, the melody is rhythmic and can be heard more than can be whistling. At least, here! There are many things happening in less than 6 minutes in Elements which is very representative, except for the very ambient Tadpole, of the other structures elaborated with care and detail of GROBEK I. And it's not a coincidence since those sessions took place in January at the North Sea and have marinated almost 5 months in the hands of Jörg Erren, Christian Steffen and Jochen Schöttler. This latter did the mastering and production, in addition to having designed this intense black pouch. Sequencers knit complex rhythmic cores with two to sometimes four lines of rhythms when electronic percussion gets involved. Gravity offers a more robotic rhythm with rubber sounds that make me think of Kraftwerk. A vampiric melody may try to seduce these oblong lugubrous circular breaths that whirl like the gloomy eye of a lighthouse. Jerky elements invite themselves into this structure, which may seem like the race of a train, while other more decorative adorn this hike in a tunnel whose destination could be station Mephistopheles ...

Goeree Overflakkee 8 offers its structure leaping like a panther on THC in an envelope impregnated by pads to the flavors of Jean-Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream. Minimalist, the rhythmic structure is thought around an amalgam of lines that breathe the same air but that expires differently. This is a very nice title that will appeal to the nostalgic the 70's. After the ambient phase of Tadpole, Time Marches On resumes the rhythmic road with a structure that is a course on the art of building minimalist rhythms with several ingredients, both rhythmic and melodious, which interlock to become a long spasmodic membrane. The synth solos are soft and warm with a tonality of the golden years of EM. Polarity is simply great with its motorik structure and another one that sounds like two shots of electronic percussion in a rhythmic pattern that swells from another line of the sequencer. This attractive structure is nourished by superb solos and sound effects. We love? And with reason! Upstream is built on the same principle. The opening of Contention made me jump! Noises and clicks resonate with the coldness of the steel, even giving off an echo effect that is lost in a shadow of a Didgeridoo's texture. It reminds me of Propaganda's Jewel. The opening exploits this ambient side of the Didge breaths while quietly, Jörg Erren and Christian Steffen work on a rhythmic rhythm structure mounted on a series of five sequences and electronic percussion's tireless beats in the oblivion. Conclusion ends this delicious GROBEK opus with a very hypnotic rhythm structure where sequences and percussions unite their visions as metronome effects. The sequences have this rhythmic melody option whose attraction is encircled by electronic mist and the soft voices of an absent choir.

Definitely, GROBEK I is a superb album where the complexity remains accessible with this fascinating rhythmic vision of Jörg Erren and Christian Steffen. Each title is a surprise, even if some are intimately bound by the same visions. There is always a little something that changes the game. Lovers of rhythms pushed by creative sequencers and robotic percussions, bring this GROBEK I on the edge of your ears. A delight…

Sylvain Lupari (October 7th, 2019) ****¼*

Available at GROBEK's Bandcamp

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