RECONDITE (Lorenz Brunner by birth) hails from South Bavaria in the Southern corner of Germany. Growing up in a small village by the name of Berg (German for mountain) which was surrounded by dense forest, Lorenz learned to appreciate nature from a very young age. This understanding and awareness of the inter-connectivity of all things has played a big part in Recondite’s rise to success in the underground dance scene, as separate as those two may seem. With releases on revered labels like Innervisions, Life and Death, Dystopian and even Hotflush Recordings, there is no doubt that Recondite has become a serious player. And looking at the frequency of his releases, he has no intention of stopping any time soon.
Recondite hadn’t visited Dublin to perform in almost a year (since the last time Abstract brought him to Opium Rooms), so this set was highly anticipated. There’s no such thing as half measures with this man. His live sets are an extension of his identity, so to say we were getting a glimpse into his soul would be a very fair statement to make. This is even more so the case, given that everything he plays is his own work.
On the night, local techno producer, Will Kinsella, warmed up the crowd for the main man. Will has been getting recognized internationally recently, with support from the likes of Richie Hawtin. As excitement spread throughout the venue, Will took full advantage and really had fun with the crowd. He kept the music under control perfectly, keeping things lighthearted enough yet still energetic and spirited. He finished his set with a wonderful piece of elevator techno that encapsulated the crowd in a bubble of improvised saxophone and excited anticipation on a backdrop of deep and dark percussion.
Recondite took to the stage at around 1am. He began tamely, aware of the crowd’s energy level, not wanting to jump the gun. Of all the artists I’ve seen perform live, none can empathize with their crowd quite like him. There is a certain hint of perfection in his minimalist approach to music. Listening to Recondite tracks through headphones is one thing, but to hear him play live is an entirely different experience full of opulent bass sounds and exquisitely constructed melodies that cut deep into the heart of the listener.
His live set went from calmly melancholy to aggressive and intense. Every piece of music was deserving of its place in the mix. It’s essential to pack a mix with a couple of pallet cleansers and Recondite knows this all too well. Like most, he produces his music with ‘club playability’ in mind although unlike most, his sets consist solely of his own work. The meticulous attention to detail can be heard in each track. It was quite special to watch him take them apart and rebuild them as one hour long emotional journey, the highlight of which was hearing this monster!
As an artist who works in solitude, one might not expect much of a stage presence from him. I guess there’s some truth to that. I’d rather say that his stage presence was calm and focused. The performance wasn’t about Recondite the man, it was all about the music. You don’t get the arms in the air soaking in the glory of it all, you get a man determined to deliver to a very high standard. That, Recondite is very good at. So good in fact, that he was voted the best live act of 2014 by Resident Advisor users.
“I can’t take it if I don’t go to the woods for a period of longer than three weeks. It’s the air and everything, the birds, I don’t know, it’s very important for me.”
Lorenz spends a lot of time in solitude wandering through forests. There is a whole world of natural sounds out there waiting to be discovered and he is well aware of this. The uniqueness of his work can be (at least partially) attributed to the fact that he records so many field recordings. The sound of a branch thudding off a fallen tree trunk can become the perfect kick drum, the rustle of weather-hardened leaves can play the role of a high-hat, the rattling of light pebbles being moved down a stream of water can be transformed into a snare drum (with enough experience) . Recondite uses these real world sounds and finds the melody inherent in nature to create his music. It may seem counter-intuitive that a techno producer finds his muse in nature, you might imagine an abandoned warehouse with lots of ‘metal bits’ to clang together would suit better. In actual fact, Lorenz feels discomfort in urban environments and almost needs to escape back to nature every now and again. In an interview with Resident Advisor he explained that he can’t really connect to “the whole city vibe”.
I imagine a message exists within the truth of Recondite’s existence. That message is one of love, connection and balance. The emotions that engulf us when we return to the natural world are trying to tell us something. Recondite gives us a glimpse into this beauty in his music. I hope for all of our sake that we don’t destroy his source of inspiration to make Ikea tables before we get another opportunity to see him live in Dublin.