Dopplereffekt

Dopplereffekt

Approaching the work of Dopplereffekt can be daunting. As the title of their first album-length collection suggests, the act—it's hard even to know whether to refer to "it," "he" or "they"—comprises a Gesamtkunstwerk: a "total artwork" where every song, every performance, every musical motif and every pronouncement is part of a greater whole.

Yet paradoxically, the identity of the project shifts. Sometimes it seems more dedicated than any to techno's original futurist tendencies, and at others downright steampunk-retro (consider the Zwischenwelt side-project with its obsession with Victorian séances and spiritualism). Frequently it's deathly serious, with titles and announcements centred on quantum physics, genetics, totalitarianism, the state of the modern world. But, as with its spiritual forebears Kraftwerk, there is always a hint of sly humour at work, a funkiness that leavens the occasionally stark musical palette and saves the project from the dourness that can dog experimental dance music.

All of this is confused further by the mystery-or-maybe-not of the personnel involved. The core of Dopplereffekt is one Heinrich Mueller, also known as Rudolf Klorzeiger, and widely known to be behind Der Zyklus, Japanese Telecom, Zwischenwelt and Arpanet. A second participant, To Nhan, is listed on most Dopplereffekt releases and plays live with Mueller.

The elephant in the room is Mueller's previous (or parallel?) life as Gerald Donald, and the relationships of all these projects to the Detroit electro duo Drexciya. But these connections are never acknowledged within the world of Dopplereffekt, and were never acknowledged during the existence of Drexciya either. Luke Handsfree of the London party organisation Plex, who counts Mueller as a friend, says with absolute seriousness: "I've never heard Herr Mueller refer to Drexciya, at least not in my memory of any conversations I've had with him. I would not presume to consider why this is."
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