Porter Ricks is the groundbreaking project of sound artist and ambient composer Thomas Köner and techno producer and mastering engineer at Berlin’s legendary Dubplates & Mastering studio, Andy Mellwig. The pair’s 1996 debut album Biokinetics is widely considered a touchstone of experimental techno.
The album constituted the inaugural release for Berlin’s legendary Chain Reaction imprint, the Basic Channel sublabel operated by fellow CTM 2014 artists and dub techno forefathers Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald. Biokinetics collected three previously released 12”s and three new works into a series of abstracted, ocean-inspired meditations set against saturated 4/4. Together, Köner and Mellwig opened the restrained signature aesthetic of Basic Channel to tidal fluctuations, plumbing darker, more profound depths and sustaining an eruptable tension akin to the oxygen-ache of a diver’s lungs. Effortlessly suffusing the organic and mechanical, the album marked a sea change in the music landscape, liquefying discretionary divisions between sound art and industrial-inspired electronics.
Biokinetics was later reissued by U.S. label Type in both digital and vinyl formats; the label also released Köner’s ambient trilogy Nunatak • Teimo • Permafrost.
Porter Ricks’ subsequent self-titled album on German label Mille Plateaux in 1997 shifted away from the style of their first release, adding funk and pop-inflected techno. Their third and final full length, Symbiotics (Force Inc. Music Works, 1999), was produced in collaboration with Martin and Justin Broadrick as Techno Animal and included a remix of Nine Inch Nails’ “The Day the World Went Away”. The duo also contributed to Sonic Boom aka Pete Kember’s E.A.R. (Experimental Audio Research) project, and issued a series of EPs between 1996 and 1998 on Chain Reaction, Barooni, and Force Inc. Music Works.
In late 2013, Porter Ricks returned to the stage with a recently-revived live show. Thomas Köner will perform at a second occasion at CTM 2014, also presenting Makrophonie from his new project with Asmus Tietchens, Kontakt der Jüngligne.