ven in the quicksilver world of German techno, you’ve got to admire the work ethic of Richard Riley Reinhold (aka Triple R.) Just last year, Reinhold released over thirty-five records on his labels Traum, Trapez, and My Best Friend, not to mention three of his own co-productions with Steve Barnes, a mix CD for Trapez, and DJed a number of sets across Europe. Yet, even as My Best Friend proved to be one of the best new house labels in 2004, there were whispers and murmurs that Reinhold was spreading himself too thin and quality control was dipping. Selection 2 (last year’s Trapez mix) was still up to the man’s high standards, yet you could hear some of the strain sinking into tracks like Donnacha Costello’s “Pleite,” where the bassline and melodies felt slightly hamstrung in their attempt to thrust the song forward.
Selection 3 is not going to turn heads in the way his Friends mix for Kompakt did, but it is a more fluid and physical mix than its predecessor, and in turn it is less hesitant and easier to dive into. Reinhold keeps the tempo brisk throughout and manages to allow each tune to simmer as long as possible without reaching the usually inevitable boiling point.
While it’s true a great majority of house music has a strong physical component, Selection 3 manages a type of private voluptuousness. You’d hear a mix like this playing in a two-bedroom apartment crammed with thirty people and a lot of sweat and alcohol. The melodies are as tightly knit as the bodies, but all the edges are blurred by the vacuous echo of dub. Nowhere is this more apparent than on Und’s “Racehorse,” the undeniable centerpiece of the mix, where a hard-nosed dominatrix relates her sexual prey as animals trained to her liking:
“I’m gonna buy a racehorse, and I will train it myself. It has to be a stallion, and I will put it in my bed, in anyone’s bed…”
This unidentified female sternly rants on for four or five minutes, yet she is interspersed by a pseudo-dramatic broadcaster calling a horse race. Of course, the joke is that the escalation in the broadcaster’s voice brazenly mimics the road to an orgasm. Ride me, indeed. Somehow the whole song manages to stay darkly sexy, not sound too disparate from the rest of the tracks, and not dissolve into the dreaded Meat Loaf fever dream Microhouse by the Dashboard Light.
The six tracks following “Racehorse” hit both extremes of the mix, with the first three cuts desperately trying (and failing) to revive any of that dissipated sexuality, while the final three cuts by Jorge Gebauhr, Macros Cabral, and Remute brings everything back to a near-boil with huge, throbbing rhythms and quasi-trance melodies. “Bounce” by Remute is an especially satisfying closer, filled with jarring breakdowns and false endings that only enhance the primal pulsation of the drums.
While it falls a bit short of being definitive, Selection 3 proves that Riley still has plenty of tiger left in his tank, and that he shows no means of slowing down. Even it doesn’t go for any pop crossover (bar a couple of vocal tracks) and it doesn’t sate the growing need for a My Best Friend mix, a Triple R solo album, or some all-star “World of Riley Reinhold” CD, Selection 3 still impresses through and through.