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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.

Two Lone Swordsmen * Tiny Reminders (cd 2000 warp records limited)

Not a bandname that makes you think of techno first, right? Well, this sure is techno! The cover gives a good impression of the music here. It is green with a simple drawing in yellow, the bandname and title and the label. The music also leaves out anything unnecessary. There is no music more than a (strange) rhythm and a few sounds. That this doesn’t have to be boring can be heard on “Tiny Reminders”. Almost every song complete differs from the previous. Sometimes you can hear a bizare rhythm with weird sounds, reminding a bit of for example Fuckarma or even Aphex Twin, at other times the rhythms is more hiphopish, bigbeat or “four to the flour”, but never it sounds much like you have heard before (if you are not into this kind of music) and pretty strange. Expecially because of the minimalism and variety without being overdone I actually find this quite an exciting cd, even though it doesn’t have the energy that I usually prefer in techno.

v/a * Animatrix (dvd/cd 2003 warner)

I saw this wonderfull collection of ‘anime’ quite some time ago. I noticed it for only E 7,- in a shop and decided to buy it. Arriving home I see that there is not only a DVD, but also a CD in the box! The cd is a very nice collection of techno music, starting tranquilly going towards nice straight-forward techno and ending in a pretty hard drum and bass track. The artists are respectively Peace Orchestra, Freeland, Layo & Bushwackal, Supreme Beings Of Leisure, Meat Beat Manifesto, Photek, Death In Vegas, Junkie XL featuring Saffron, Overseer, Juno Reactor, Junkie XL with Don Davis, Tech Itch with Don Davis. A great DVD ànd a great CD, so keep your eyes open for the double version.!

v/a * Dub Nummer Drie (cd 2000 dub/clone)

After the compilation 12″s “Nummer Een” and “Nummer Twee”, the Dutch progressive techno label Dub Recordings comes with the 12″ “Nummer Drie”. Again there is a cd version with much more tracks than on vinyl, so the choice is easy. 12 Tracks and 70 minutes of tranquil experimental techno that since it became relatively popular got different names to identify it. “Electronica”, “cuts and clicks” (after the compilation series on Mille Plateaux from France), “downtempo”/”slowbeat” (the US terms), etc. Even though there is something similar in the USA, they don’t have our Dub-recordings there.
Anyway, if you don’t know this kind of music, it is hard to describe. As said the music is very tranquil, there isn’t really melody in it, but some clear tunes for the atmosphere. Most stress is on the vague rhythms/beats that aren’t regular or danceble, but also no “breakbeats” or “drum’n’bass rhythms”, but cut-up beats that will drive most people mad. If you know Aphex Twin should be able to get an idea of what we have here, but Aphex goes 3 steps further in madness and idioticy.
I think most tracks sound a bit too much like the best-known project “Funckarma” (they are on the cd, but not on the 12″!, also see their cds above). Also I prefer some more energetic and harder form of this music (like Squarepusher or some Aphex), but this is quite enjoyable as background music, but again, most people will get very nervous when listening to this.

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.