March 15, 2007

Newworldaquarium – Twenty EP


“Man, Detroit is such a has been.” Ouch, eh? Those were the words I heard the other week, out of the mouth of a techno-loving friend whose opinion I trust. A person whom, I might add, was once a fully-fledged Detroit head. His comment may be unfair, it may be untrue, but it resonated somehow. With notable exceptions, the Detroit masters lost it somewhere, and went from producing some of the most sublime machine music ever to globetrotting on the residues of their former glories, using nothing but their reputation as “Detroit legend” to ensure a steady supply of drink cards and one nighters. How fascinating, then, that the so-called Neo-Detroit sound emerged—a whole new generation of (mostly European) producers carrying the torch for the “Atmospheric Detroit style,” as Delsin’s description on Discogs would have it. More than that, but Neo-Detroit is “really it,” (say it in the Sharevari voice for full effect).

Newworldaquarium’s “Twenty” is a funny record on this tip, for whilst it seeks to present itself as “Neo-Detroit” on a label famous for keepin’ the vibe alive, it’s actually more like a dodgy trance record from the mid-nineties (a time, mind you, when techno was exploring its trance-self). The sins of the father visited upon the sons? What next? Will Redshape release a jungle record? Both “Bond” and “Twenty” rely on the same swirling, delayed “da-da-da da-da-da” melodies that were hallmarks of the trance of old. This is a thin facsimile of an original trope that was itself fraught with catastrophic taste lapses. Strangely though, the three short tracks on here are really interesting, and seem to have had more thought put into them than the “normal” length ones. Brian Eno talked about his work developing the sounds for Windows and Nokia, and how he would put as much work into a three second hit as he had into a whole song. I can’t help but feeling the same thing’s happened here. Strangely though, I tend to think that lends it an interest in and of itself.

Delsin / 61 dsr/nwa4
[Peter Chambers]