After announcing he’s winding down from duties in The Orb, Thomas Fehlmann “checks the juice” with a fine, squashed set of ambient-dub-techno jaunts. Make sure to check for the roiling acid-dub flow of ‘Morrislouis’, the way that the bassline on ‘Window’ practically drops out of the speakers, and the spiralling waltz of ‘Freiluft’.
"Establishing a picture of his current artistic condition, as suggested by the title - los lagos / die lage / the situation (literally translating to 'the lakes' but taking the meaning of 'wassup' in the context of a relaxed discussion between friends), the album refers to Fehlmann's "musical motivation, dreams and wishes" through the language of music exclusively: a way to "allow myself to techno" he says, "to techno as a means to deconstruct and rebuild again. Set up an area of tension, loose it in the flow of the grooves. Magnifying some detail out of proportion, regroup around that and slowly knit a texture. Expand."
"It was time to take a bend and head where the sun rises or sets, wherever my heart drives me." This is pretty much the kind of decision Thomas Fehlmann has made. 61 and shining, longstanding member of The Orb, multi-talented composer and boundless experimentalist, had to make in the twilight of his collaboration with Alex Paterson, eager to taste the flavours of the unknown on his own again. "It was the moment when felxibility would have become compromise”. Far from being the demise of their joint dream, this was bound to split it in two distinct, parallel fantasies - rich of their own singularity.
As goes with that essential love of his for the free-flowing nature of electronic music, a fascination born out of its "lack of borders", capable of "inventing, changing the emphasis, experimenting with an unpredictable outcome", 'Los Lagos' "freely connects disparate extremes. Art, disco, minimalism, schmalz, jazz and funk". As he likes to say, Fehlmann's head functions as a sampler, capturing elements and re-assembling them under his own embracing perspective ; not afraid to leap from a deep, dubbed-out hypnotism ('Window', 'Morrislouis', 'Freiluft') to the playfulness of '90s-style bleepy schaffel ('Tempelhof' featuring Max Loderbauer), through out-there, muscle-flexing dancefloor cuts ('Triggerism') onto the calmness of ambient ('Geworden’).
In need to keep his inner balance in check, Fehlmann committed himself to "switch off the control" and follow his intuition, which isn't so much of an easy process as he also wanted to incorporate the side disturbances experienced: "it’s a complex process of search and destroy to bring out a new beauty trying to expand my vocabulary". With 'Los Lagos', Fehlmann looked at finding "the structure that's surprising, disturbing and rewarding". The artwork for the record, courtesy of contemporary artist and friend Albert Oehlen whom he shares lots of artistic ambitions with, echoes the producer's "funky use of shape and space, sludge and clarity" like a second skin. A search for light and harmony that Fehlmann sums up eloquently: "Does your inner musical voice respond?", that is the question. Then "doors open up in unexpected corners, rays of light appear; you follow through and you're in - in your oasis."