Mark Ernestus didn’t necessarily need to make more music. With the records he’s already made as one half of Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound, he’s already a stone cold legend who took techno into beautifully dark and uncharted waters and also inspired the confusing thought that “my favourite reggae band is German”. Sonic subtlety and heavyweight rhythm that somehow glides like an aerodynamic monolith are trademarks of his productions, as are the seemingly extraneous though carefully sculpted ‘noises off’ that dress the sublime series of records Rhythm & Sound produced for a decade until 2006. Its hard to find a suitable adjective that can do justice to the artistry at play between Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald as they created their peerless canon – such detail in the mastering, bass like a huge blanket, layers revealing themselves with each listen. And like all the best productions, they need to be heard on vinyl.
But continue is what Ernestus has done and his work with Ndagga Rhythm Force is just as great as we’d all hope. The Rhythm Force hail from Senegal and record with Ernestus in Dakar, their multi-headed mbalax polyrhythms delicately processed and enhanced, live shows setting numerous festivals on fire and their records getting deeper with each release (and of course given the added benefits of Dubplates & Mastering).
Some of us still bemoan the fact that Rhythm & Sound never became a full-on live act, but we expect Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force to more than quell those qualms.