Extrawelt are surely one of the good memories of the minimal era. The genre’s rise to the zenith of the club scene was rapid – it was everywhere from Ibiza to Tokyo. Reading about it now, the evolution of this throbbing, clicking artery of club music of the mid- 2000s was quite divergent. Some of it tried to stay true to the minimal form that was fighting to stay relevant, while some tended towards early tech house and rode the wave of its popularity for the next decade. In a sense, Extrawelt sometimes exist somewhere between the two. In the more uplifting corners of their discography, the production tends to be quite progressive, whereas the essence of their hooks stays quite minimalist.
There are varying degrees to which you can strip down a groove for it to still sound coherent. Still, there are three main aspects that a good minimal track needs to obtain that propulsive feeling. The first is a bas that oozes funk and needs little to no variation, the second are percussion samples which sound like you fed your grandmother’s china collection through a woodchipper. Lastly, and most importantly, the producer needs a knack for pushing the progression forward so seamlessly, that only when the eventual breather just before the drop comes, you are able to see the mountain of sound.
The most recent release by Extrawelt comes on Traum Schalplatten, the minimal goliath that now mainly dabbles in sweet German melodic techno. It kicks off with Mr. Wednesday, a thumping bassline which flashes its razory teeth to varying degrees, always smoothly foreshadowing a switch-up in the percussion. The production is excellent, with the beautiful use of effects being backed up by the frightening industrial sounds that the producer duo are known for. Unfortunately, despite being bouncy as hell, perfect for some peak time shape cutting, it could be perceived as lacking subtlety.
The title track of the EP is rhythmically more interesting. Its stumbling bassline segues wonderfully into the percussive backbone of the track, which keeps up with the pace of scene changes set by the opener. The breakdown is especially rewarding, with the bas suddenly disappearing and leaving the aftertaste of an early morning at a warehouse rave.
Finally, we have SEM, which is the most minimal of all the tracks. It’s fast, decisive, with some unusually delicate, glassy perc sounds filling the void left by the oppressive machinegun high hats in moments of downtime. An output worthy of the duo’s otherworldly moniker.