[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Here’s hoping more people get into this record the second time around because back in 98, there was little notice paid in scene. You could even go so far as to say a willful ignorance transpired. This album has a curious history now, being originally put out during the space between Haujobb’s universally adored ‘Solution for a Small Planet’ and the thoroughly detested ‘Ninetynine’. Now it once again appears in the wilderness between Haujobb albums, so who knows what in the world is going on now behind the scenes.
1997 – 1999 was a period of hyper activity from our Mr. Myer; he also initiated his Architect, Hexer, Scope, Aktivist projects and also the Myer solo works during this time. His cohort, Dejan Samardzic ventured out on his own under the name Dots&Dashes. All in all an extremely busy pace, but of everything this fellow did back then ‘Audiodesign’ remains the strangest of the lot and S’Apex easily is still the most demanding to listen to.
For one thing, this project was a bizarre hybrid between the worlds of Drum ‘n’ Bass and Electro. There wasn’t anything remotely “industrial” about what was going on here and the style of composition clearly reflects the times in which Myer undertook this. It still doesn’t sound like anything else out there, well over 15 years later and as to what those who are hearing it for the first time will say? I think you start to get a sense of what a challenging piece of work this is. His infamously complex beats run roughshod! However, this is probably the closest thing you will ever get to an ambient album out of him for the simple fact that there are no discernible hallmarks of traditional song structure. That is to say, no middle eights, no chorus’ and no verses either; this music is tailored to suit the mind and not the body. S’Apex had a lethal ability to create atmospheres; there are multiple instances where everything drops out but individual tones which appear to meander aimlessly but are the basis of auditory maelstroms yet to come.
Myer went beyond what people knew him for and explored extremes. Reportedly, he did this in the span of three weeks.
Those who knew him, by and large, skipped this. The crowd outside of who were fans… now that’s an entirely different story. People who’d never heard of Haujobb and didn’t go in for EBM or Industrial lapped this one up like parched nomads in the desert wasteland of electronica. Remember, there was a huge push by the major labels at the time to cash in on all these oddballs with their samplers and keyboards. Dance culture had become mainstream, to the point of overkill; for those who were in it (as well as lapsed Techno heads like myself) ‘Audiodesign’ was a nail bomb coated with cyanide tossed into the hive. Of course, there were more accessible remixes made of certain songs but the album itself couldn’t care less about the clubs or the imbeciles “curating” them. You could call this a backhand across the mouth of dj “culture” and not be wrong; it’s such an abrasive release that the hostility didn’t even bother trying to hide.
But on to the re-master which Daniel has chosen to do, I can tell you this much: don’t pass it up again. Oh sure, not every track from the period is here (he’s always had a weakness for remixes) but it faithfully preserves the sounds and more importantly the spirit of ‘Audiodesign’ incredibly well. There have been some changes to the original versions – go track down an original issue of this if you want every nuance, I dare you – but he’s done these things to demonstrate that this project has never been far from his mind. It may sometimes seem as though he’s constantly in motion but there’s a definite agenda going on inside that head of his. I can’t stop playing this bloody thing and have even broken out my Poet’s Club compilations to go along with the whole event… one never knows what else they may have forgotten in the intervening years.
The man continues to dig deeper into his endless bag of tricks as the years go by with no sign of bottoming out. Will this presage other re-releases, will Hexer and his remarkable solo singles be collected in a similar manner at long last? Will Aktivist’s album see the light of day… If enough people buy this one, I suspect we’ll get to find out. I truly hope this period in his career outside of Haujobb and Architect finally gets the audience it deserves because it was a fantastic time to be a fan. Every other month there was a new revelation; the evolutionary scales had been broken.