Hell has the fury to try and best the beast of DJ Deep’s volume one, armed with bangs and basslines causing blackouts both electrical and neurological, and using cellar-gleaned cuts previously left catching dust mites with the freshly encoded. As an activist of bringing skools together (or showing techno is consistent in its (non) movements over the last 20-odd years), the German is relatively forthright with his smoothness to begin with, using the oft-repeated hollering Indians via Odori as he settles to the ‘floor before bringing out the Gigolo’s brass knuckles.
Peace Division’s “Club Therapy” and its itchy, closed circuit monologue of keeping it real, and The Horrorist’s “Wet and Shiny,” with a list of its favourite things giving the compilation a Euro edge you’re anticipating more of, are part of Hell persistently teasing the fluency he’s installed, steered towards the precipice of dirty means and uncouth ends. That touch of the unexpected, also numbering DJ Spookie’s disco diversion “Home Jam”, gets to dragging back with classic Robert Hood and tribal thoroughfares, ahead of powering back up with effortless returns of high velocity spearheaded by Inner City’s “Ahnongay” into Hell remixing Halogen. Going in for the kill is therefore an easy job from superior balance management, with acid-soaked ill will on Shivers’ “Fornax” and barrages from Lisa Cadena coming at you before Recondite starts spilling bad blood. Another Kern classic.
File under: Steve Poindexter, Kenny Larkin, Joey Beltram
Ordinarily a collaboration of this size is all in the mind of messageboard spectators clamouring for an infallible merger. However, Borderland providing tantalization — deep, steady, mildly futuristic as a ponderous probe – will have them racing straight back to their keyboards, asking questions as to whether they’re fully getting the benefits of the duo’s expertise.
Moving effortlessly to amiable flecks and pulses documenting nature and up-down bass of an infinite lifespan, it’s an immersive eiderdown of house and techno milieu. On some level it is faceless; yet the anonymity it does profile sustains a restful ease, massaging controls, resisting urging them on as the jackhammers and pistons are told to fall back. “Footprints,” prominent through its super-clipped hi-hats, is the extent of deviation, save for when the beats drop out in suspended wonder.
The two shape eight tracks from a ball of astro clay that yields the softly, surreptitiously scientific, faintly luminescent (some may say with an aquatic serenity) and of melodies making you take a vow of silence. As it cleanses the dancefloor with little more than a nudge, it edges to the verge of buttery until it threatens to bloat. “Digital Forest” at least throws a mite more fuel on the fire, and “Afterlude” leaves a haunting, timely/too little too late reminder that actually they haven’t been resting on their laurels with a super-minimal fractal dissection. Holding back, or entering a new dimension? Their collaborative B&C games remain better than the A-games of most, but will that be sufficient compensation for ardent techno evangelists?
File under: Basic Channel, Cybotron, DeepChord
Welcome to the newest transmission from the 25th century. With Part One light years ahead of its millennium release, Terrence Dixon tentatively re-enters the system, sounding awestruck with a fluidity where feet barely touch the ground. The sublime, remote hum encasing “Dark City of Hope” leads the charismatic networks of fractals unlimited and sonic equations, careful not to splash too much in the brooks of bass while technical precision rules.
FTFF2 flouts any tag of withdrawn, milder-than-most techno. Dixon can get ruffled – see the chopper bladed “My Journey Here”, again upholding that near yet far continuum of sound. “Path to Mystery” is curter, self-explanatory storytelling, “The Switch” loops into a coming and going muddle, and the Motor City operative scatters seeds of doubt with trickles of synth mischief and pendulous filters. More tellingly or less obviously, it does sound as if a fierce techno album is being held back, the gliding pace suggesting a truant in a former life, a rebooted bad boy wanting to go straight who can’t quite kick the habit.
“The Auto Factory,” another self-describing automator, is the album’s most metallic assault, rotating as an industrial-sized fan. “Lead by Example” adds steel and industry to the calmly constructed, while “Navigate” is the rogue’s last stand. Techno that doesn’t side with either being passive or aggressive – and therein lies the enigma.
File under: Population One, Steve Rachmad, Juan Atkins