The best sections of Sekundenschlaf are those scattered across a plain of quiet; distinct objects with generous gaps in between them, arranged like art pieces set sparingly over a large, clinically white gallery space. Each aquatic throb of synthesiser hangs patiently in the wake of its own bright, crisp reverberation, as if observing its own echo collapsing against the walls – tracks unfold gently between meditative intakes of breath, during which artist and listener partake in wholesome inhalations of acoustic space.
Such a spacious production helps bring to light Juhls’ broad sound palette, presenting each as its own figure rather than a fleeting peak within the soundwave continuum. While many of the textures fall neatly within the broad stylistic zones of dub (warm bubbles of electronics drifting down tunnels of tape delay) and electronica (clinical beeps of laboratory equipment and monotonous reels of bass hum, a la Raster Noton), the album is flecked with morsels of the curious and unexpected: the scuttling pops on “Montreal > Dortmund” that feel like spiders scurrying across my skull, the chattering pocket helicopter and stuttering shakers of “Bienenkorb”, the brash handclaps of “Monddiode”.
The grooves often assemble themselves one molecule at a time, beginning as the stop-start of a solitary sample before growing into slow, deep congregations of tone and beat. The temptation could be to overcrowd the pieces with intricate meshes of rhythm, cramming detail into each ounce of silence – thankfully Juhls succeeds in keeping Sekundenschlaf a predominantly minimal affair, permitting ample room for the listener to wander between and within the electronic constructions that materialise before them.