Published Apr 13, 2020German producer Vril's reputation as a purveyor of atmospheric, hard-hitting techno has been growing over the course of a few EPs now, after his debut album Torus unexpectedly dropped like a pallet of steel from two storeys in 2014. A relative unknown at the time, his productions have been featured by Berlin's tastemakers ever since, from whose ranks Marcel Dettmann has emerged with Vril's latest on his newly-minted Bad Manners label. Simply titled Bad Manners 4, it's another characteristic batch of aggressive dub techno meant to slam eardrums and shake girders. Those not already fans of warehouse-sized cuts like these may find it alienating, but Vril is clearly not here for them, and his uncompromising approach yields some impressively maximalist results.
Avoiding melody even more studiously this time around, Vril's focus is on atmospherics and dynamics, filling the cavernous space behind his beats with yawning depths and crackling, multi-layered washes of white noise. The best tracks on Bad Manners 4 chart a path between both, and it can be quite a journey.
Opener "Scalar" takes you from the club to a bunker half a mile beneath it over the course of its eight and a half minutes — a hypnotic, long-form retreat that pulls you through the floor in slow motion. Late-album highlight "Psionik" excels in this regard also, boasting a power station throb that reduces you to a floating atom. Daniel Avery's huge ambient techno is a good reference point here, as is Paula Temple's recent pounder Edge of Everything.
Similar to Temple, there's an almost elemental aspect to Vril's productions sometimes: powerful, inevitable, moving forward with a sublime indifference. Many will want to get out of the way (and there are moments of relentlessness on Bad Manners 4 that will test even the bravest), but those who stand their ground will find Vril's pummeling explorations of space and scale exhilarating. (Bad Manners)