Subtlety is not the first word used in connection with most DJs, but there is much more the metier of Germany's Gregor Tresher than simply playing records, as Lights From The Inside attests. In fact, after he completed pre-production on his third full-length, Tresher actually stepped away from the decks for six weeks to clear his head. "DJing is my first profession," he admits. "It's what I love to do and what I have been doing for almost twenty years now, even before before I started to write my own music." In the past two years, the producer of 2008's best-selling Techno track on Beatport ("A Thousand Nights") has aspired to make music he would want to play out. "But for this record, I had the feeling that this shouldn't be my priority." While Lights From The Inside features several songs sure to find favor with Tresher's nightclub colleagues—"Frontline", "Breaking Routines," the giddy "As Days Go By" (recently issued as a single on Josh Wink's Ovum label)—this twelve-song odyssey operates on multiple levels.
Just as a painting or photograph appears to move if one stares at it long enough, with close listening the stratified grooves and melodies assembled on Lights From The Inside reveal an organic universe of shifting sound. Meticulous attention to the latter element—melody—was of utmost concern to the Frankfurt resident. Not obvious, eight-bar earworms that would quickly exhaust their welcome, but musical lines that could repeat and intertwine in different patterns, "melodies that are more subtle and develop as you're listening." In this regard, Lights From The Inside harks back to Tresher's earlier releases, even as his aesthetic continues to evolve in new directions.
Tone color was also a key consideration. "Most of the music was written in two months, but finding the perfect sounds and putting them together took much longer." Listen to the interplay of slow-moving tones and twinkling sounds on the title track, or how muted snare hits reverberate against the chilly lower registers of "Leaving". It's no coincidence that the almost-tactile crackles, clanks and pops animating the whole album sometimes recall Depeche Mode's Construction Time Again; the 35 year-old producer cites that 1984 classic as a longtime inspiration, alongside work by other electro-pop iconoclasts from that era.
The album's play of light against darkness and its pervasive mood of melancholy, both underscored by its title, betray a more specific influence on Tresher's latest offering: The Cure's Disintegration. As on that 1989 landmark, he aspired to create an all-encompassing sense of atmosphere, as well as a comprehensive album that covered varied emotional terrain. Towards that end, specific set pieces guide the shape and flow of the record: The menacing opener "Shadow Layers"; the concise, ebullient interlude "If Only"; and "Destroy," a metallic, rumbling closer that concludes the album with an air of questions yet-unanswered. Tresher aspires to create what another producer once sagely called "music that makes you dance and cry at the same time." With its simultaneous, synchronized appeal to the feet, head and heart, Lights From The Inside succeeds.
Gregor Tresher began his career as a DJ in Frankfurt in the early '90s; today, he can be found plying that trade at venues around the world, from Berlin to Tokyo, Sydney to Los Angeles. Following two critically-acclaimed albums credited to his Sniper Mode alias, Tresher broke through as a producer under his own name via his 2005 releases Still and Neon, his remix of Sven Väth's "Komm," and his contribution to Cocoon's Compilation F, "Full Range Madness." In addition to releasing tracks on countless other esteemed labels, including Intacto, Great Stuff, Rebel One, Ovum, and Moon Harbour, Tresher launched his own eclectic imprint, Break New Soil, in 2009. Lights From The Inside is the third Gregor Tresher studio album, following his debut A Thousand Nights (2007) and The Life Wire (2009).