Hamburg synthesist Richard von der Schulenburg returns to Bureau B with the follow up to last year's Moods & Dances 2021, harnessing hardware crunch, cryptic found sounds and field recordings on a mission for Cosmic Diversity. Taking inspiration from the haunting electronica of BoC and Plaid, refracted here through the half-life of a Zeiss lens, RVDS navigates the musical multiverse, simultaneously straddling electro, IDM, kosmische and dub across eight exploratory compositions. Created during lockdown as an escape from the insular, this LP looks outward but reaches inwards with emotive melodies at every turn.
Opening in adagio, "Schoolyard Sweets" sets the scene in mournful monochrome, its dislocated vocal samples cascading over a snaking bassline while a gloomy waveform detunes through to the final resolution. "Darkest Planet" latches on to a faltering radio broadcast before falling foul of a MÃ¶bius loop, the repeated vocal mutating endlessly within a maze of brittle percussion. A needling sequence suggests we're destined for the event horizon, where the synth wavers between a sigh and a scream. There's a brief glimpse of daylight via "Daily Circles", though its birdsong slowly melts into bat calls as sombre organ and back masked vocals soundtrack a black mass.
Schulenburg takes us to the midpoint with stately synthscape "Future Night", a tone poem which perfectly paves the way for the titular "Cosmic Diversity". Blasting the pastoral vision of MHTRTC into orbit, this celestial bossa looks back on Planet Earth with some necessary perspective, its crystalline lead capturing the beauty and fragility of our planet perfectly.
"Reset My Brain" sees RVDS push the pace, pairing a snapping electro breakbeat with the low end rumble of a Sheffield bassline, tunnelling into the heart of the dance floor before those golden tones begin to bloom. Shades of industrial dancehall and Detroit's originators colour "Dance Of The Plutos", an intergalactic raga-cum-ragga snarler which shows just enough restraint not to melt the wax. Schulenburg signs off with the pastoral beauty of "Rain In Romance", a transcendental blend of wordless chanting, detuned bells, gentle rainfall and Berlin school electronics which brings Cosmic Diversity's stylistic journey full circle.