The Chemical Brothers * Singles 93-03 (cd 2003 virgin)

A best of cd from the Chemical Brothers, well. The problem with this band is that they have totally brilliant tracks and also boring ones. Most of the time the singles they release are good ones, but obviously I didn’t know all their hits. Brilliant tracks can be found here such as “Setting Sun”, “Block Rockin’ Beats”, “Hey Boy Hey Girl”, but overall this cd is about as good and one of their normal cds (with the exception of “Dig Your Own Hole” which is good almost all the way). If you did not follow this band during the many years of their excistence, this is a good way of getting to know them.

The DJ Producer * Doomsday Mechaniks (cd 2004 the third movement)

I have two cds of Hellfish and Producer and one cd of Hellfish alone. None of Producer alone though, so I was delighted when I found out that I could just walk into a local recordstore and listen to one of them. “Doomsday Mechaniks” opens extremely loud, like the louder parts of the Hellfish/Producer cds so to say. At times Producer is so extreme that I get a grin on my face. It is a bit like listening to extremely brutal metal that is so aggressive that it becomes funny again. After a few tracks there is also room for less heavy tracks and some experimental things that bring back memories to the cooperation with Hellfish. Towards the end the beats-per-minute become more regular and faster again. Overall there is much more straightforward tekno on this cd than on any of the Hellfish/Producer cds which makes this the perfect addition to my tekno disco. A few points of comment are that the samples are sometimes a bit too obvious. I am not a walking techno catalogue by far, but I recognise samples from Moving Shadow releases (old drum ‘n’ bass / rave). Further there is one Dead Can Dance sample that I am not happy with. For the rest: great!

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.

Ultraviolence * Life Of Destructor (cd 1994 earache)

Wow! Eight years ago Johnny Violent already made his “extreme industrial techno”! “Life Of Destructor” sounds pretty much like the “Shocker” cd that Johnny released under his own name in 1996 (see elsewhere). Quite primitive still, but VERY extreme.

Ultraviolence * Psycho Drama (cd 1995 earache)

“Psycho Drama” is the ultimate masterpiece in extreme techno. No, it is NOT the most extreme cd that you can get, but Johnny took his style, multiplied it by 10 and added a healthy cup of soap. “Psycho Drama” is a techno cd with a story that is told in three parts. First you will learn about the miserable life of Jessica, abused by her father, picked up by ‘disco boyfriend’ and becoming addicted to drugs, later abused by the boyfriend and fleeing in the arms of a pimp who wants to get rid off her after having exploited Jessica. The second story is that of the hitman who also had a miserable life. The hitman is hired by the pimp to kill Jessica, but the two fall in love, commit suicide and have a discussion with God.
All this is told in music varying from cheesy top40 techno to extremely violent ‘digital hardcore’. Not really fitted for dancefloors, because you need to hear the whole cd, but perfect for in the car or the living room. An absolute must-have if you are interested in extreme techno and I think it was rereleased several times and still available.

Ultraviolence * Superpower (cd 2001 earache)

It was quite a wait after “Killing God” (1998), but here is a new cd by Johnny Violent. “Superpower” was anounced as a “Europop experiment” so I feared the worst. Listening to “Superpower” you will immediately hear Johnny Violent’s trademark of violent techno with a crazy twitch. The “Europop” influences are there though in the form of irritating vocal-lines and here and there a nurve-breaking melody. The biggest part is just ultraviolent hardcore techno, but I am not sure what to think of this cd yet.

v/a * 00.1 (2cd 2000 moving shadow ltd.)

Finally there is a new one. I got to know the UK Moving Shadow label for their 99.1 and 99.2 extremely cheap drum and bass compilations. It seemed that there are also 98.1 and 98.2. These cds (double) cost only 2 UK pounds and contain very interesting d&b compilation and mix-cds. The normal Moving Shadow cds aren’t that cheap though…
And at the end of 2000 there is the first compilation for this year and it is a special one, because apparently the label has been around for 10 years! They thought of an interesting concept.
The first cd is a 80 minute mix-cd with three tracks from releases of every of the 10 years of existence. This way you get an idea of how old rave/breakbeat techno evolved to drum & bass. Old style tracks are mixed with modern tracks, but overall it is mostly in chronological order. In the beginning you will hear rave/breakbeat techno (remember the Prodigy Experience? something like that) and over time the music goes through jungle to drum & bass. The style of the Moving Shadow artists has always been very energetic and harsch which you can hear very well on this compilation. Some tracks are well known, others unknown.
The second cd is a cd rom with an irritating Flash-like platform containing information about the label’s history. A database of all the releases, the covers of these, artwork, merchandise and much more. Very well done, but I am not happy with the design, but that is probably a matter or taste.
Overall again a good cheap cd (say $5,- in most cases) with a nice overview of difficult rhythm techno. Of course not all tracks are equally good, but it is funny to hear the typical old rave with piano melodies and boring vocal samples together with some harsch modern d&b.

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 * Audio Output 3 (cd 2004 the third movement)

I know this Dutch label from a 12″ that I got for my birthday (see N-Vitral review). N-Vitral makes industrial techno and the label appeared to be a post-gabber thing. I also noticed that The DJ Producer has a cd out on this label and when I walked to our local Midtown Recordstore (a chain of recordstore from one of the most famous gabbers of the past) I noticed that The Third Movement not only has vinyl, but also some cds and even two compilations. Last week I wanted to have a listen to one of these compilations. Audio Output 2 contains fairly heavy techno, but is sometimes a bit too much in the gabber-direction, with its “rave” sound. When I was looking if the shop also had the The DJ Producer cd, I noticed that Audio Output 3 just came in. So, here I have a cd with Peaky Pounder, Armageddon Project, N-Vitral, Promo, Micron, D-Passion, Moleculez, Xaphan and Daisy. Also for me not the most common names. If I remember correctly, the other compilations also had Venetian Square and Producer on. Anyway, Audio Output 3 is less ‘gabberish’. It is not all extremely loud techno, there is room for more ‘tranquil stuff’ (relatively speaking of course) and especially more experimental. Some tracks are very heavy and there sure are some marvelous tracks to be heard. All in all this makes this cd a very nice compilation for those of you who are also looking for the better “tekno”.

v/a * Big Fuckin’ Beats (cd 2000 quintessence recordings)

A warning to start: the title promises more than you will get! BUT, regardless the absence of “big fuckin’ beats” this is a very nice compilation cd. As a matter of fact, there are some quite heavy beats to be heard, but mostly not in the ‘big beat’ vein and not “fuckin’ big”, but, just big.
Anyway, the techno on this compilation is quite extraordinary, or at least, of a manner that I haven’t heard very often. Sometimes you will hear techno in the vein of Speedy J (see cd review elsewhere), but most of the time you will hear somewhat minimal techno with beats comperable to those of Prodigy for example (that’s the only resemblance by the way). The cd is very varried and contains almost only very good tracks. Keeping in mind that it’s also mostly an original sounding form of techno, that makes a very nice compilation.