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Budding Rivalries

a weekly look into the world of electronic musics...

I Love Asphalt [12”]
[Areal, 2005]

Seems like we have a budding rivalry: Dominik Eulberg’s love of biology and exclusion of Ada on his newest mix CD is responded to on this new Areal 12”. Or perhaps Ada’s just found the exactly right metaphor for her hard-driving, yet luminously melodic, techno compositions. The title track is classic 12” Ada, meaning there’s no vocals save a female laugh and the whole thing is garnished with a healthy dose of Atari. The B-side is yet another “version” of previous material. This time it’s the “Wet Cement Mix” of “Believer.” Nice, I suppose. But nothing revelatory.

Microscopic EP [12”]
[Cocoon, 2005]

On the basis of “Geht’s Noch?” you could safely say that Cocoon has had a strong year. It only gets better here with Djinxx’s first release on the imprint. “Micro Mini” is the sort of nameless, faceless trancey racket that makes you wonder whether your love of this music is genuine, but the B-side holds a duo of interesting moments: “Scopic” is easy-listening psych that placates in a good way, while “The Other Side” picks up the pace and reveals itself to be the long-lost cousin of early 1990’s IDM (emphasis on the D).

Matt Tolfrey & Craig Sylvester
Acix / The Horn [12”]
[Crosstown Rebels, 2005]

Crosstown is another label having a great year. Their latest is a collab between two unknowns (as far as I can tell) that’s been utilized on a mix already by Damian Lazarus and is guaranteed to be featured on a few others, if the custom to over-use known quantities continues unabated. It would be welcome, though, as “Acix” is an acid monster that only lets the true squelch out of the bag for the climax and song’s second-half. B-side, “The Horn,” is slower-building but no less of a beast once it unleashes its enormous flange. Recommended.

The Orb
Okie Dokie It’s The Orb On Kompakt [CD]
[Kompakt, 2005]

The definition of laziness: this album title. This album, however, is anything but. As wide-ranging as the Bicycles & Tricycles debacle, it’s safe to assume that Thomas Fehlmann had a much larger hand in the construction in this one and it shows. Early standout, “Lunik,” may be the finest pop song they’ve made since “Toxygene,” “Captain Korma” bests it, and “Can Can” is deliciously off-kilter techno. After “Cool Harbour,” they seem to call it day and turn on their delay pedals and ambient machines (which is fine by the way), but the first half of this record is something a lot more potent than anything they’ve released (not on Kompakt) for some time. Thanks Thomas. Keep the Dr. out of the studio more often, OK?

Various Artists
Compilation 01 [CD]
[Freude Am Tanzen, 2005]

If I’m not mistaken, no track on here isn’t on a 12” already released by the label. And for dance music fans that “only get the CD”, this should come as a welcome boon. It also acts as a nice history lesson: you can see throughout the compilation the way that minimal techno moved away from the digital disco of the early 00s to the ketamine-house that is in now so very much in vogue: Gamat 3000 to Wighnomy Brothers, basically. The latter duo are the predictable stars here, featuring on no less than four of the 11 tracks, while DJ Koze also makes his mark on two. Couple in the underrated Hemmann + Kaden’s best work and you’ve got yourself a winner. Recommended.

By: Todd Burns
Published on: 2005-11-17
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