Born in Tokyo to British-American and Filipino parents, TJ Hertz was raised in Belgium and the UK before a permanent relocation to Berlin in 2009. His music, like his upbringing, comprises myriad threads woven together into a spellbindingly odd fabric. Nowhere is it allowed to shine brighter than on 2014’s album ‘Flatland’ and 2018’s ‘Cocoon Crush’, both released via Bill Kouligas’ tastemaking stable PAN.
Around 2010, after sharing demos to the once popular dubstepforum - “which at the time was - I can only imagine - a lot busier than it is now”, Hertz received a message from Jack Revill, a DJ who would go on to find popularity under the name Jackmaster. He explained that he worked for a distribution company called Rubadub, and that he wanted to help release the first Objekt record. Hertz took a little convincing, but then, in 2011, a white label entitled Objekt#1 quietly seeped into the dance music consciousness: ‘The Goose That Got Away’ on its A-side, ‘Tinderbox’ on the flip. Such was its brilliance, coupled with just the right level of delicious enigma, that Hertz handed in a remix (his first) of Radiohead’s ‘Bloom’ later that year.
Across his subsequent club releases (which have come via Hessle Audio, Power Vacuum, Leisure System, Bleep and the continuation of the Objekt white label series), which contort club styles beyond all recognition, Hertz applies fervent conceptual discipline; every elastic bass warble and shimmering metallic clang dripping with intention. Acclaim has followed him throughout his career: In 2016, he was invited to contribute the third mix to German clubbing institution Tresor’s ‘Kern’ series, ‘Ganzfeld’, released on a split EP with Dopplereffekt, was Resident Advisor’s favourite track of 2014, while Mixmag named ‘Theme From Q’ our top track of 2017. Hertz applies a similar rigour to mixing, famously filling his USBs with folders entitled ‘Floaty Rollers’, ‘Beatless Transition Tools’ and ‘Urgent Wee’ - “for when you really gotta go”.
All manner of hyperbolic projections are cast on Objekt, his capabilities as an analyst not exaggerated but warped by romanticism. Really, it’s the strange shapes his analytical and artistic halves combine in that make Flatland and Cocoon Crush singular. To Hertz, technology is an interface for the kind of creation that is unquantifiable. And if at any point the tool even momentarily stalls the journey from imagination to record, it must be done away with at once. He is, ultimately, a defining artist in his field.