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v/a * Table Of Elements (online compilation 2006 mtronic)

I don’t think that I heard of the label before they sent me an email to notify me about their free compilation. “IDM” I am not sure if this is still the name this music goes under these days. In the beginning I called it “abstract techno” by lack of a tag, later terms used in the media were “cuts and clicks”, “dub”, “electronica” and later “intelligent dance music”. The most funny thing is, is that the music isn’t really danceable (in my opinion). The music seems to go back to weird electronic acts such as Autechre and Aphex Twin, but it seems that in the evolution of this cut-up breakbeat music seems to have gone in two directions. One is a more soft and melodic sound (Funckstörung, Funckarma), the other fucked-up and violent (following Venetian Snares). The first then is “IDM”, the latter “breakcore”. Of course there are numerous crossbreeds and novelties. What -for example- to do with a weirdo such as Kid 606? Anyway, in the beginning I had the idea that the music is still the same as seven years ago when it was still new. Soft music, crazy rhythms/beats, a bit of orchestrations. But as the cd continues there come some harder tracks and some tracks with new elements. There are some very nice tracks on the compilation and you can heard the sound of both old and new.

Doormouse * Broken (cd 2002 planet-mu records)

Sharing labels with the brilliant Hellfish & Producer is no guarantee for geniocity. Doormouse managed to take the style of Hellfish a step further. There are much more crazy rhythms and beats, much more crazy samples, much more noisy elements. The result is… too much! Almost nowhere there is a regular beat, no real “tekno” and Doormouse is at times closer to digicore than tekno in general. At a few times great, but most of the times totally overdone.

Kid 606 * The Action Packed Mentallist Brings You The Fucking Jams (cd 2003 violent turd)

A couple of years ago I saw Kid 606 live in Den Haag (Netherlands). There was a festival with a then fairly unknown kind of experimental techno. All the acts had releases on the French label “Mille Plateaux” who just released the second issue of their “cuts ’n clicks” compilation cd, giving the music a name. Later it became “intelligent dance music” (idm), “electronica”, “electronics” or whatever. Inspired by artists like Aphex Twin, Autechre and Squarepusher, a new generation of laptop artists made tranquil music with weird cut-up beats and samples. Kid 606 had a show with problems and proved to be a bit louder than the rest. For years I never paid much attention, not even much to the music in general, but then I heard that I should listen to the new Kid 606 (thanks bro). I listened to the mcd “The Illness” which has the two brilliant and loud tracks from the 12” with three other tracks of which two are not too good. Then I listened to “The Action…”. It is a 60 minute cd that is crazier then Hellfish, but not as loud. Tons of samples, many extremely well-known (Kylie Minogue, Bangles, Radiohead), the weirdest rhythms with here and there are regular ‘gabber beat’. All in all much better than other things I have heard from this ‘scene’, but Kid 606 does seem to have the same labels as other acts reviewed here. Some tracks are completely brilliant, but Kid 606 is very obviously showing off. First drum & bass, then digicore, then a piece that sounds a lot like Squarepusher. Sometimes it is a bit too much. At times great, at times not too great, but overall a very nice cd. There is a new one coming up. Hopefully the 12” tracks will be on it.

Manu Le Malin * Fighting Spirit (2cd 2002 bloc)

Yes it has been a while since I reviewed a tekno cd. I’m afraid that this will be a slow-growing section… I love the music, but it is not the kind that I play very often. Besides, too much tekno is shitty.
So what about this French act? I didn’t know them, but I saw them in a local recordstore. They are compared with DJ Producer (who contributes on one track), which was promising enough to listen to this double cd. The first cd is very technoïsh. Straightforward beats, here and there some ‘cuts-n-clicks’ and around the end some slightly harder material. On to cd two then. This is a total gabber-cd, but with a bit of a twist. Not 100% regular beats, but much more than Hellfish & Producer for example. Not extraordinary extreme though, but also this cd gets harder as it continues. A few very nice tracks, but to buy a 2cd for four tracks? The search continues…

Mouse On Mars * Idiology (cd 2001 soniq)

I have known about this band for quite a while, but I don’t think that I ever heard their music. I do know that people always had a problem catagorising this band. They have been filed under ‘industrial’ for a while, when there was digital hardcore, MOM suddenly was digital hardcore and now that they have found names for vague techno music, MOM shares shopspace with Autechre, Aphex Twin, Plaid and Funkstörung under “electronica” or “cuts and clicks”.
And indeed, when you listen to “Idiology” this isn’t the strangest idea either. However every cd is said to be different, “Idiology” definately fits between the mentioned names, but actually will still be a ‘strange’ cd. There is odd techno, crazy beats, insane vocals, but also nice orchestrations, real instruments (from piano, to violin and trumpet) making “Idiology” to a cd for lovers only. I don’t think people who like the mentioned names, will automatically like MOM. Weird stuff!

Sonic Subjunkies * Suicide (mcd 199? digital hardcore recordings)

However this is one of the first DHR projects, I don’t believe they made any full-lengths. This mcd is a mcd completed with live- recordings and deleted vinyls. In all lasting for 74 minutes for the price of a cd-single! Musically the Sonic Subjunkies make quite typical digital hardcore going from drum & bass-like techno to extreme straight-forward stuff. The live tracks are nice, but expecially the ‘Twin Peaks track’ is wonderfull. Some of the best digital hardcore from the early days!

Squarepusher * Go Plastic (cd 2001 warp records limited)

Tom Jenkinson has been trying out the possibilities of recording equipment for a long time and is regarded as inspiration for projects like Aphex Twin, Autechre, Speedy J or younger projects like Funckarma or Fuckstörung. When the first Squarepusher cds were released, people didn’t know what to file them under, so they used the tag “drum & bass” which doesn’t really cover the music of Squarepusher. Some tracks may give a bit the idea of d&b, but while that music is mostly built around a certain rhythm (however strange), Jenkinson’s music is hardly the same for three seconds. As a matter of fact his music is completely crazy and often drives unwary listeners that very mental condition. Squarepusher is extremely ‘full/busy’ music with the most insane sounds and ‘rhythms’ and seems to lack every sence of structure. What I like about some Squarepusher tracks is that they are can be a lot harder than most similar music that is made these days. Unfortunately “Go Plastic” is mostly (relatively) tranquil, but there are a few completely idiotic tracks on it. I know better Squarepusher tracks than those on “Go Plastic” as well, but it seems that Jenkinson has gone totally mad when recording this one. Squarepusher sure dares to take things a few steps further than many of his colleagues/followers, so listen to “Go Plastic” if you dare.

Squarepusher * Ultravisitor (cd 2003 warp records)

Hm, I don’t keep up with techno well enough it seems. I accidentally ran into this new Squarepusher which is probably from late 2003. Squarepusher was one of the first to make this fucked-up kind of techno with crazy ‘beats’ and weird sounds. I have a few of his cds, but hearing this new one, they tend to keep the same all the time. “Ultravisitor” does contain some brilliant tracks which must have taken a lot of time to make and also the jazzy more tranquil tracks, but it is not like Squarepusher is pushing his own borders in my opinion. But if you like the other cds, you will also like this one. It is pretty long and even seems to contain (some) live-recordings??

v/a * Masonic (cd 2003 hymnen records)

And here we have proof that the closing question of my N-Vitral review cannot be answered with a “yes”. “Masonic” is the name of a 4×12″ compilation which was also released on 2cd. Basically it is a techno compilation, but it is also sold in the industrial scene. Musically it shows a wide range of techno(ish) sounds, giving a nice overview of what is available. From the electro-sounds (in the ‘techno explanation’) of Bochum Welt and soft “intelligent dance music” of Funkstörung to drum and bass, hard techno like that of Venetian Squares or danceble industrial of bands like Imminent, Gridlock or Substanz T. The compilation is not overall brilliant, but there certainly are great tracks on it and the majority is enjoyable enough. Both for industrial and techno lovers!

Venetian Snares * Rossz Csillag Alatt Született (2cd/cd 2005 planet-mu)

Aaron Funk was in Hungary and you will know. The title means something like ‘It was born under a bad star’. When I heard about this album I downloaded the teasers from the label’s site. 2 Mins of every track was enough for me to write a review, but also to make me decide to get a copy of the album. Venetian Snares is known to most people for his extremely experimental and most of all loud “breakcore”. On the latest album you will get (live) orchestrations with ‘intelligent dance music’ on the background. Strange and nice, but not entirely original. Fuckarma did somthing similar and I also have a Fuckstörung track in this vein. But still, Venetian Snares is a bit harder than the other two and a whole album makes a nice diversity between my usual kinds of music. From orchestral music to fucked-up Aphex Twin techno. Visit the label’s site for a teaser.