Compilations / Mixes
Bryan Müller's one of those preternaturally gifted wunderkinds who began making tracks seemingly before hitting puberty. At the ripe old age of seventeen, he already had been identified as one to watch and now, four years later, can lay claim to a SCNTST discography listing EPs, the 2013 debut album Self Therapy, and our present concern, the sophomore effort Puffer.
With fifteen tracks on offer, there's a lot to digest, and Müller doesn't make the task any easier when an abundance of different styles is tackled. He grew up in Munich listening to hip-hop and rock, so it makes sense that the sixty-four-minute Puffer would be an eclectic affair, and anyone coming to it expecting an hour-long set of techno and house will have such expectations immediately dashed when “Render For Peace” opens the recording with a luscious electronic soundscape that's more willowy ambient than anything else. It's not the only time he does so either, as the serene “Zuge” makes clear six songs later. Such pieces argue that Müller clearly has his sights on something more than just the dancefloor.
That said, Puffer does include a generous share of muscular, groove-heavy cuts. The garbled atmospherics of “Life of Ares,” for instance, receive a powerful impetus from a bass-thudding pulse, and the driving “Sers” exudes a radiant, trance-style sheen that's hard to deny. In addition, “Hygh 2k12” and “Kristall Edition (Fusion Mix)” demonstrate convincing commands of bass-music funk, and “Mondquelle (Spirit Mix)” works Basic Channel-styled dub effects into its steamy house charge.Müller's ear for texture is evident in the heavy doses of crackle and thrum that are prominently woven into the tracks' sound design, and his stylistic command is definitely impressive. Yet while one comes away from the collection impressed by how far he's traveled in such a short time, one also comes away from Puffer less clear about exactly who SCNTST is when so many different bases are covered. But that in itself isn't entirely surprising, given the relatively early stage at which Müller's at, and one expects that a greater clarity of identity will assert itself as his career advances.