Sunday, July 23, 2017

U2 - War

Island Records: 1983

War, hah! What's it good for? Giving a budding Irish band the proper break-out they needed, is what. They'd already made oscillations in new wave circles with their debut Boy and follow-up October, but it was their third album that we hear the germination of what most consider the definitive U2 stylee. Arena rock anthems, political issues... um, wait, something's missing here. Oh yeah, that Eno touch. Right, the true definitive, universally adored sound of U2 didn't manifest itself until subsequent albums, but there's a contingent of O.G. U2 fan-Zs that claim Brian and Daniel Lanois ruined what had been a promising raw alternative rock band. That, if you want to experience Bono, The Edge, Adam, and Mullen (the cute one!) at their honest, roughest best... you should probably go with Boy.

But hey, War was still a Steve Lillywhite produced album, so not quite as arty as Eno would go; besides, they'd already tried that with October. War instead finds the band returning to a purer rock approach – it was only appropriate for such a heavy, politically-driven topic, getting their music into the knit and grit of conflict and the aftermath's ugliness. Plus, just in case you figured they might be going for something more abstract or glorified in selling the notion of war, they used a similarly posed photo of Peter Rowen on the cover, except now replacing the innocent boy of Boy with a stern, aged glower, suggesting the human cost of senseless struggle.

The band doesn't pull its punches either, opening the album with the strident, military march of Sunday Bloody Sunday, a song about the Bogside Massacre, where over a dozen civilian Irish protesters were killed by British soldiers, many more injured. Add in a wailing violin and Bono's harrowing cries of “I can't close my eyes; And make it go away”, and you've a song that definitely sticks in your memory.

It's the lead single though, New Year's Day, that really gave U2 their distinct panache for arena rock. That instantly memorable piano line, the propulsive bass, the jangly guitar work, and Bono's wailing – you can't think of U2 without thinking of this song, even if you don't realize it's from the War album. I sure didn't, the echo, reverb, and polished production having me think it latter-'80s U2 for the longest time.

A criticism often levied upon War is that the remaining eight songs don't reach the same highs as Sunday Bloody Sunday and New Year's Day, especially dragging in the back-half. Can't deny that, though they're by no means weak songs either. Two Hearts Beat As One and Like A Song... are strong rockers, Drowning Man features more soul-tugging violin work, The Refugee sounds like something The Police might have wrote, and Surrender climbs close to the same lofty peaks of New Year's Day. It all makes for a strong rock album, but if you come to U2 for their artistic dalliances, perhaps a little one-note overall.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Various - The Wandering II Compilation (Part 2)

Silent Season: 2015

A sorting glitch after downloading from Bandcamp? Silent Season intentionally making digital and physical versions different from one another? A higher power sating my strange alphabetical obsessions? Whatever the case, the track sequencing between the MP3 and CD copies of The Wandering II is vastly different. Whereas the latter stylistically spreads the music out across three discs, the former arranges everything per artist, going from A.P through ASC to Ethernet, Kanthor, Michal Wolski, Segue, all the way to Yuka. And while I'm all for such organization in spicing up a playlist as staged randomness, it doesn't work so well in this case.

The chaps at Silent Season spent a full year in collecting, curating, and crafting this triple-compilation, such that each track had its proper placement on CDs. Playing it out by Artist totally messes that up, and while Silent Season promotes a generally narrow aesthetic range of dub ambient and techno, my digital version still made for some strange transitions. That ten-minute long dark drone of Sonitus Eco's Frost works as a second track on an ambient-heavy CD, but playing out at the forth-to-last position with a few rhythmic tracks following was jarring to say the least.

Whatever, it's just a quirk, one I'm certain Silent Season didn't intend. Nay, the 'proper' way of hearing The Wandering II is per the CDs themselves. I mean, the opening half of CD1 prominently features ambient, and doesn't really return to that style anywhere else. You get a couple different flavors of it too, from the aforementioned drone, to some blissy pad work (Legiac's Jefre Tropod) or ominious field recordings (Birds Of Prey's The Surface, Kanthor's Hegemony). By track six, we finally start hearing intermittent rhythms, some more of a microfunk thing (A.P's Interdimensional 2.0, Aesthes' Amphibians), others doing the soft, minimalist dub techno throb (Inanitas' Tuesday Evening, Ethernet's Reminiscence). Overall a typical warm-up disc for Silent Seasons' preferences.

CD2 is where I get the most bang for my buck though – there be trance here! Right right, it's not trance as you or him or her or they or Them or It might call it. Archist's Photosensitive has a tribal rhythm with soft pads ebbing and flowing throughout. Hidden Element's Edge Off and Michal Wolski's Lunyata provide a nicely thumping dub techno pulse to distant synth melodies. Hydrangea's Ananké works a slow-n-steady techno beat as widescreen pads fill a wide range of timbre. Alfredo Mazzilli's Continuando a Sognare and Tdel's Deep Field sound like they could have been chill cuts on an old Eye Q collection. See, trance!

If all that sounds too uplifting and melodic for you, CD3 goes about as de-e-e-eep into dub techno's domain as you'll ever likely hear. There's occasional touches of pad work (As If's Nærvær, Warmth's Altitude), but yeah, this is a rather clinical disc compared to the other two. Still, Mr. Zu's Retaw takes us out with some vintage ambient techno-dub, which is only appropriate for a massive collection such as The Wandering II.

Various - The Wandering II Compilation (Part 1)

Silent Season: 2015

It's a rare event when Silent Season releases a compilation, their first coming three years after the label launched. Following that initial Wandering CD, they put out a white-label collection called Full Circle, then sat fallow on the format for five years. Not really sure why that is, as they seem to have enough contacts in dub ambient and techno circles to warrant a few favours phoned in for contributions. And while it's lovely and all having spiffy albums and pleasing EPs available, the compilation has long been the preferred format in promoting one's manifesto, a sampler of artists and genres a label wishes to support by luring in the curious passerby. Then again, Silent Season is the sort of print that's long been able to sell itself almost entirely by word-of-mouth, the quality of their releases readily reaching the ears of dedicated disciples of dubbed-out music. Making compilations for the pure purpose of promotion would be a redundant venture, and likely a time consuming effort for a label that prides itself on its minimalist aesthetic.

Nay, better to save the format for celebratory events, which is what Silent Season done did in finally releasing a second volume of The Wandering in 2015. The occasion of note with this item is it marking the label's twentieth release, a feat that... doesn't quite add up when I look over their discography with The Lord That Knows All. Mind, Lord Discogs' cataloguing isn't an exact science, some albums appearing twice under different formats, so I guess I'll have to take it under faith that Silent Season is being on the level in claiming The Wandering II marks their double-ten triumph. I mean, that Dubpression Remix digital release from Rasmus Hedlund was just half a release anyway, right?

And just in case you felt this label's been far too skint in offering compilation options over the years, Silent Season didn't hold back on this one, going with a gargantuan 3CD extravaganza, inviting familiar artists from their past for a dub techno party. ASC is here! Segue is here! Inanitas is here! Mon0 is here! Tdel is here! Yuka is here! Um... is that it? No Vitalis Popoff? Or Shaded Explorer? Mind Over MIDI? Martin Nonstatic? Edanticonf? Refracted? Faru? Purl? Bueller?

Well hey, as I said before, a good compilation should expose you to new and unknown names, and The Wandering II definitely does that for yours truly. While there's a few artists here that I think I've come across in the past (Brando Lupi, Archivist, As If, Slownoise), most of these I'm dealing with for the first time. And since I've clearly almost used up my self-imposed word count now, I'll spend a second part detailing the musical particulars of this release – oh yes, it ain't just twenty-eight tracks of droning dub techno. I'll finish this one off by mentioning the track sequencing of The Wandering II is... odd, artists arranged in alphabetical order. Who even does such a thing? *cough*

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Ashtech - Walkin' Target (Original TC Review)

Interchill Records: 2007

(2017 Update:
Ten years ago, almost to the day, this item dropped, and aside from Meditronica in 2009, nothing since - not even a contributing credit under his real name of Andrea Nicoletti. I know Lord Discogs doesn't have *all* the information out there, but surely it'd have something like added bass licks or keyboard jams to a project elsewhere. Yet checking out Ashtech's website now leads to a laser cutting company. It all strikes me as odd, considering the aggressive PR campaign Ashtech had when he was making his still active. I mean, for such a scant discography currently to his name, dude's got quite the Wiki written up. Anyone know what's up with that?

Walkin' Target has gradually grown better to my ears over the years (decade!). True, it's still not doing much different with reggae-dub and dancehall that you can't hear elsewhere, but it does it so well, I don't give a care. Maybe it's that I haven't heard many other albums of this sort in all that time, due to my lackadaisical efforts exploring this genre deeper beyond its shores. Then again, every time I throw this album on, folks within earshot always get their bop on when hearing Essential Credential, so that must mean ol' Ash' and Gaudi were onto something "natural universal" here.)

IN BRIEF: Ready on d’em roots, aigh’t?

The British must feel an eternal bond to Jamaica since the colonial period; it has to be the reason several UK youth are constantly inspired by the Caribbean island’s music. Roots, reggae, dub, and everything in between is as much a fixture with England’s potheads as grime is with the slums of London. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that many Jamaican immigrants bring their musical philosophies with them; one love between two island nations... or such.

Despite being Italian of origin before settling in London, Mr. Andrea Nicoletti – Ashtech - has felt this influence no less; chalk it up to his bass playing background - when you feel ‘d’em riddims’, the bass-heavy production of dub beckons. Long a collaborator, this is the first time he’s taken center-stage on a full-length, and he doesn’t hold back on exploring what roots music has to offer. >bR?
...such to the point he almost falls into the trap of merely copying it rather than providing his own spin. If you’ve casual knowledge of this music, you’ll find there isn’t much stylistically unique on Walkin’ Target. Ashtech honors the foundation pioneers like King Tubby laid out all those decades ago, so if this has never held much appeal for you, then it’s doubtful his album will change your mind.

Also, as this is very groove-orientated music, the direction of a given track is typically found in the sub-bass frequencies. As a result, those without the speakers to bring out the full dynamics of the lower end of the sonic realm (I’m looking at you, iPod generation) will be missing out. That extra layer of sound can vastly change your perspective of a given song here: where a run-of-the-mill roots tune will sound ordinary on ol’ laptop speakers, suddenly there’s something rather special going on once powerful sub-whoofers show just how intuitive that bassline really is.

Hmm, two nitpicks right out of the gate. Am I going to say anything nice at all about Walkin’ Target then? Absolutely, but I know you people can be fickle when it comes to dub, so best I clearly establish the generalizations before I get to the particulars, eh?

So... the particulars.

This is as fine a collection of dub as you’ll find these days. Already mentioned are the basslines, which grumble and growl in many cuts, but let us not forget about all the effects that come with the package. Cavernous reverb, endless streams of decay, stuttery echoes: all accounted for and present, with none sounding superfluous or overdone (an all too common side-effect from too much reefer indulgence with other acts). And while Walkin’ Target is mostly Ashtech’s show, the presence of long-time dub producer Gaudi in the studio with him definitely aids in getting the most out of all the production tricks the genre’s been known for. Even if the roots of the music are over-familiar, there are plenty of unique twists and turns provided to keep the attentive entertained.

And Ashtech does dabble in many variations too. There’s bouncy dub (Beat Da Drum, Gringo , Mahayana), darker ambient excursions (Buzz Dub, R.E.M.), grimier cuts borrowing from London’s dubstep scene (While The Music Plays, DNA), and traditional reggae styles (Sun Shines On You, Essential Credential). Even hip-hop and techno get an influential nod (Individuality and Plain Speaking, respectively).

As good as many as these are though, it’s when Cheshire Cat lends his talents to a track that things are taken up a notch on this album. You may recognize him as the guy releasing pressure or chanting about poor men on Leftfield tunes. While most of his toasting here is in support of Ashtech’s tracks, they add that extra bit of quirky roots vitality which is utterly infectious.

Except for the title track itself, where the Cat completely steals the show. Mind, that’s kind of the point, as he tells a harrowing story of inner-city strife: the death of a young man trying to make it big, dying for his troubles, and the anguish felt by his mother as a result. Ashtech wisely produces a backing track to complement the tale, and is the clear highlight of Walkin’ Target.

I suppose there’s little more to say here, as this release really does speak for itself. Revolutionary? Not really. Niche specific? Yeah, pretty much. Good nonetheless? Damn skippy, hippie! If Ashtech displays this much skill in honoring the past, one can only wonder what his future will hold.

Written by Sykonee for, 2007. © All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

King Midas Sound - Waiting For You...

Hyperdub: 2009

Stupid of me sleeping on this when it first came out. I was fiending for more material from Kevin Martin after London Zoo, ready to hear any and all music The Bug had to offer. But not enough to follow developments in his other projects apparently, King Midas Sound making their debut in a flash before receding from the limelight again. Part of that was due to timing, Waiting For You... coming out at the tail-end of 2009, when I was burnt out keeping an ear to the pulse of electronic music for review purposes.

It's also a case of the group almost deliberately eschewing much media marketing, doing a few requisite interviews and tours, but not much else. Even Mr. Martin seemed hesitant in letting folks know that The Bug had a second project called King Midas Sound, one gestating in the background almost as long as his work for London Zoo had been in progress. Waiting For You... went so overlooked, there's no review for it at Resident Advisor, though one for lead-up single Dub Heavy Hearts And Ghosts, plus follow-up remix LP Without You. Still, that makes me more hip than RA now, right?

We did all finally catch up to this conglomerate of Kevin Martin, singer/crooner/spoken-worder Roger Robinson, and singer/artist Kiki Hitomi. It was a slow burn, which makes sense as Waiting For You... has a feeling of needing lengthy time and many play-throughs to simmer into your soul. Those coming into it expecting more of Mr. Martin's crushing bass assaults won't find that here, though the bottom-end is dutifully represented throughout. Plenty of that trip-hoppin' dub action too, utilized in such a manner that it creates a wall of white noise where Mr. Robinson's vocals ride along, like surfing waves of mile-high sound. Other times he's completely enveloped by the layers of timbre, his voice just another instrument to- wait, I've already typed such a description before, haven't I, when I reviewed the Fennesz collaboration Edition 1. Darn it, it's such a good description though.

What's interesting is that Roger wasn't really known for a soulful croon prior to his team-up with Kevin, his prior performance experience mostly poetry over a rhythm. And there are a few tracks that go that route on this album too, such as the punchy, minimalist (and super-preachy) Earth A Killya, and the interlude Sumtime. Elsewhere he edges closer to a dancehall cadence (I Man), but by and large he carries a song with his soft croon. And he'd never done anything like it before! He figured he'd carry on doing the spoken-word stuff, but when Kevin persisted in hearing him sing a little, he realized that was what would make King Midas Sound stand out as something unique in the UK's urban scene. Throw in a few spacey additions from Kiki (Outer Space really does live up to its name), plus a couple dubbed-out instrumentals for good measure, and voila, Waiting For You..., a neo-soul album like few others.

Wu-Tang Clan - The W

Loud Records: 2000

The first proper Wu-Tang Clan album I bought for myself, and not a bad one at that, but I can already hear the “tut-tut”ing from long time disciples. Why not get Enter 36 Chambers first, as you're supposed to do even if you're not a fan or the Wu-Tang Clan? Well, as the first Wu record I ever bought was The RZA Hits, it felt redundant springing for another record that had nearly half the same tracks on it (I was stupid for thinking that). Second, The W came out the following year I fell sway to the charms of hip-hop, so it was only logical I scoped that shit out post-haste, my honeymoon glow still preventing any sense of critical consideration.

The W has gone on to be one of the Clan's most difficult albums to talk about, in that it seems everyone has utterly conflicting feelings about it. They love that it's pared down to an easily digestible hour-long effort, yet surely the group had more to offer than just this? It's nifty hearing guest spots from other prominent rappers, but aren't they taking the limelight away from all the talent already within the group itself? All Clan members sound matured, sharp and on point, with even some of the weaker members finally coming into their own as lyricists, but have lost that spitting Hell-fire of their debut in the process. How great it is to hear the Wu over RZA beats for a full album (save a lone Mathematics cut), but only around half the tracks are actually memorable. Let's detail couple now!

Chamber Music: urgent strings with crackly samples. Careful (Click, Click): herky-jerky, sample-snapping, creepy woodwinds; definitely feels like you're in a claustrophobic gun-toting, warzone. Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off): bouncy, loopy, with a great key-change mid-track, ruined by a lame U-God brag verse. Gravel Pit: even bouncier, a track totally aimed for the club, but at least RZA freely admits its intents, so it's a lot of fun (looks like they had fun playing cavemen in the video too). Then there are weaker cuts, like the endlessly looping soul sample from Hollow Bones, and the plodding *thump-thump clap-clap* of One Blood Under W with Junior Reed. Ah well, the famed dancehall toaster gets a better track to close the album out on with the mournful Jah World. Speaking of guests, Snoop Dogg inexplicably appears with ODB in Conditioner with a bog-standard 'pimpz & hoes' verse. Okay, that's not accurate, the Dirt Dawg recording through a jail phone booth, hence the low-grade quality. I guess RZA realized there wasn't enough material there for a track, but Year 2000 Snoop's the last person up to the task of pinch-hitting for the Wu.

Okay, enough gripes. I do enjoy more than dislike stuff on The W, even if it comes off like much of the Clan's best material was now behind them. Then again, some of Method Man's lyrics in hidden track Clap have forever stuck with me. I don't know why.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

EDM Weekly World News, July 2017

Tired of 'fake news' from the lame-stream EDM media? Dejected they never dig deep into the darkest, dank dungeons of Detroit's dons for 'unpresidented' discoveries? Time to return to that always reliable source of unreliable gossip, the EDM Weekly World News, released semi-seasonal as always!

Sadly, we couldn't find out who the new vocalist for The Timelords is going to be before going to print. Rumor has it being Linda Ronstadt.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Refracted - Through The Spirit Realm

Silent Season: 2015

Eh? What's this? I'm still hearing the theme to It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia playing? But... I already made my excuses in the review of Lingua Lustra's Source, a perfectly valid reason for 'springing' on a digital version of a release despite my steadfast mandate that I'll always go hard copy over digital: I initially got it for as a free download, then picked up the CD in a bulk deal from the label. See, perfectly legit. I've remained honest and true in my proclamation of never buying digital if a physical option remains. *Always Sunny In Philadelphia plays, now with title “Sykonee Buys A Digital Version Of A Vinyl Release”*

Oh, fine, 'tis true I caved on this one, but Silent Season is so good at twisting my rubber arm, don't you know. They actually sent out a Bandcamp discount through email, so I figured where's the harm in indulging one of their releases that came out in a physical medium I know I'll never buy. I mean, there's always the ultra-slim chance I might find one of their earlier CDs at a 'reasonable' price on the open market (haha, ha), but vinyl? Oh, Hell no! I don't dare start on the Black Crack addiction. Then again, I caved on my 'never digital' stance in this particular instance – who's to say I won't some day break to vinyl's ever-seductive gleam, its promises of audio fidelity grand and pure... NO! Must... resist...

Refracted is Alex Moya, a relative newcomer to the world of techno. He made his vinyl debut with Silent Season, on the 2013 EP Along A Ghostly Trail, following on that a couple years later with a debut album in Through The Spirit Realm. For some reason, it didn't click for me this was an LP (or 2x12”), figuring I'd simply be getting a single as most records from Silent Season go. It's rather pricey of the fiercely independent print to press wax of this sort, is what I'm saying. But yeah, five tracks hovering around the seven minute mark, an experimental shorty about three-and-a-half, and a ten-plus minute closer - I'd say this constitutes a proper LP.

As we're dealing with Silent Season, you bet the style of techno Mr. Moya brings us is deep, dubby, and filled with field recordings. It's also remarkably tribal, tracks like We Arrive, The Ritual Begins, and the titular cut getting my Psychik Warriors Ov Gaia triggers going. Right, it's not exactly like the PWoG we all know and love – none of that renegade grit in this mixdown – but the techno-kraft is close enough for me to dig it. The two tracks that bookend Through The Spirit Realm are more on that ambient trip though, which is fine if you like your subtle lush pads flush with sounds of the jungle and approaching thunderstorms. Still feels weird trading such rainforest fauna from that which Silent Season's more known for. Unless you wander the Amazon exhibit in the Vancouver Aquarium anyway.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Earth Nation - Terra Incognita

Eye Q Records: 1995

No one disputes Sven Väth was the Head of Eye Q and Harthouse, the face and brains, if you will. Several producers were easily the Muscle, acts that helped build the label into one of the seminal powerhouses of techno and trance coming out of Germany (Oliver Lieb, Hardfloor, Alter Ego, Resistance D, Vernon, Energy 52). One man, however, was unquestionably the Soul, always lurking in the studio away from fame and glory. Who's influence not only helped refine Sven's approach to dance music, but left an undeniable, lasting imprint on how we remember those Eye Q and Harthouse records to this day: Ralf Hildenbeutel. Not only was he behind some of their most successful singles (L'Esperanza, Superstring, My Name Is Barbarella, Desire, Firedance), but his songcraft gave many tracks a charming, retro-futuristic stylee we so often associate with early trance. He never got as much due as he deserved, but its difficult thinking of Eye Q or Harthouse without thinking of Ralf.

He had many projects with both labels, but one seems to have slipped from general discourse compared to his other works: Earth Nation. I suppose part of it has to do with the rather generic name, not exactly the sexiest option when surrounded by stuff like Progressive Attack, Odyssee Of Noise, Icon, Summerbreeze, and Cygnus X. His partnership with guitarist Marcus Deml yielded a few albums though, this here Terra Incognita their second effort. It's also regarded as one of classic trance's last great LPs before the tsunami of Oakenfold changed everything.

Even here, it's clear Ralf and Marcus knew the trends were shifting, Terra Incognita almost devoid of the blistering Frankfurt pace of old. The fastest track on here, The Ikarus Syndrome, features a rhythm that's right out of the Underworld Banger playbook, all the while opening with a lengthy, sweeping, operatic build that could give Cream punters goosebumps. Later in the album, Green Sky Is Red has a nicely brisk pace of its own, though has more in common with goa trance of the mid-'90s than anything Germanic. Elsewhere, tracks Elucidate and The Artificial Dream get more of a proggy groove going, the former with a warm-up set vibe, the latter sounding not out of place in a peak-hour Sasha & Diggers set of the time. Really, the only 'pure' trance cut on Terra Incognita is the opener Way In, a loopy hypnotic number that has as much to do with Frankfurt techno as anything else.

Throw in a few ambient interludes, a requisite 'experimental' track in Transfiguration (breakbeats in goa!), a couple wind-down downtempo tracks towards the end, and you've a remarkably solid trance album for the year 1995, hardly dated at all. Why does this go so overlooked, then? It came out towards the end of Eye Q's run? The 'Earth Nation' handle just too easily bypassed? Not appearing on enough Very Important DJ mixes? Who knows anymore, but if you crave vintage trance, there's no reason for you to ignore this.

Various - Techno Explosion (The Other Stuff)

Jumpin' & Pumpin': 1997

Fifty techno 'giants' has to be among the most ridiculous claims I've seen in the copy of a compilation. What does that even mean? Giant hits? Stakker Humanoid certainly charted, but beyond the FSOL stuff, I don't recognize a single thing. No, check that, there is one song that did significant chart action long ago, Eleanor Rigby. It's practically the same tune too, with the string section and everything, only this time, 'Lonely People' (Chris & Tim Laws) add some generic rave beats and piano fills. Fortunately, that's the extent of trendwhoring 'updates', but nowhere near the end of bandwagon jumping 'techno' cuts.

Though this was released in '97, Techno Explosion doesn't reach much beyond '93, almost entirely sticking to the old school rave era. One track dips a toe slightly beyond that, '95's Burnin' Love from Dutch happy hardcore act Critical Mass, and sounding ridiculously out of place among all the hoover anthems and sampled Amen breaks. What, did Jumpin' & Pumpin' not have enough material culled from EarthBeat, Elicit, and Debut, needing to call in a favour from ID&T to hit that fifty mark?

So there's a lot of rave riffs, proto-jungle, piano anthems and the like throughout Techno Explosion, which probably sounds like heaven if you can't get enough of that era of music. Trust me though, you'll grow tired of it all after four discs worth of non-hits. A huge chunk consist of stitched-together loops of well-worn styles and tropes, few raising above the standard stock of the time. Whenever I heard a cut that sounded a little more polished and intuitive, that there was an musician behind the console and not some hasty hack job, turned out it was a track Dougans and Cobain had a hand in. Man, these guys really were far too good for this shit, weren't they?

Right, it's not all forgotten unknowns rounding out three-fourths of Techno Explosion. The Urban Shakedown posse (Aphrodite, Claudio Giussani) join up with Andy Chatterley for the one-off Prodigy knock-off Feel That Feelin' as T-Boom! Steve Mac, who had a proper 'giant' hit in Nomad's Devotion, appears with a multitude of aliases and collaborations (Clockhouse Hours, Coma Kid, Suzy Shoes, Smak, Bubbles). Jamie Odell, who'd go onto some minor fame in jazzy, downtempo d'n'b as Jimpster, earns his early jungle strips as Flag. Darren Pearce would have a successful run with the Reactivate series (they of the cartoon animal covers), but can't escape bog-standard rave 'ardcore here. There's a DJ Freshtrax with a few scattered contributions, though you might know him as Jon The Dentist these days.

There's not much else to mention. Techno Explosion is little more than a label expunging its back-catalogue in hopes of generating a couple extra bones, with as cheap a presentation as possible (not even an inlay booklet provided). It's like getting a torrent that promises hundreds of classic rave tracks, then discovering most of it is just the same nonsense slightly rearranged over and over and over.

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Things I've Talked About

...txt 10 Records 16 Bit Lolita's 1965 1966 1967 1969 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2 Play Records 2 Unlimited 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 20xx Update 2562 302 Acid 36 3six Recordings 4AD 6 x 6 Records 75 Ark 7L & Esoteric 808 State A Perfect Circle A Positive Life A-Wave A&M Records A&R Records Abasi Above and Beyond abstract Ace Tracks Playlists Ace Ventura acid acid house acid jazz acid techno acoustic Adam Freeland Adham Shaikh ADNY Adrian Younge adult contemporary Aegri Somnia Aes Dana Afrika Bambaataa Afro-house Afterhours Agoria Ajana Records AK1200 Akshan album Aldrin Alex Theory Alio Die Alphabet Zoo Alphaxone Altar Records Alter Ego alternative rock Alucidnation Ambelion ambient ambient dub ambient techno Ambient World Ambientium Ametsub Amon Tobin Amplexus Anabolic Frolic Andrea Parker Andrew Heath Androcell anecdotes Aniplex Anjunabeats Another Fine Day Antendex anthem house Anthony Rother Anti-Social Network Aphasia Records Aphex Twin Apócrýphos Apollo Apple Records April Records Aqua Aquascape Aquila Arcade arena rock Arista Armada Armin van Buuren Arpatle Arts & Crafts ASC Ashtech Asian Dub Foundation Astral Waves Astralwerks AstroPilot Asura Asylum Records ATCO Records Atlantic Atlantis atmospheric jungle Atomic Hooligan Atrium Carceri Attic Audion AuroraX Autistici Autumn Of Communion Aveparthe Avicii Axiom Axtone Records B.G. The Prince Of Rap Babygrande Balance Balanced Records Balearic ballad Banco de Gaia Bandulu battle-rap Beastie Boys Beat Buzz Records Beats & Pieces bebop Beck Bedouin Soundclash Beechwood Music Benny Benassi Berlin-School Beto Narme bhangra big beat Big Boi Big L Big Life Bill Hamel Bill Laswell BIlly Idol BineMusic BioMetal Biosphere BKS Black Hole Recordings black rebel motorcycle club Black Swan Sounds Blanco Y Negro Blasterjaxx Blend Blood Music Blow Up Blue Öyster Cult blues Bluescreen BMG Boards Of Canada Bob Dylan Bob Marley Bobina Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Boney M Bong Load Records Booka Shade Botchit & Scarper Boxed Boys Noize Boysnoize Records braindance Brandt Brauer Frick breakcore breaks Brian Eno Brian Wilson Brick Records Brodinski broken beat Brooklyn Music Ltd Bryan Adams BT Buffalo Springfield Bulk Recordings Burial Burned CDs Bush Busta Rhymes Calibre calypso Capitol Records Capsula Captured Digital Carbon Based Lifeforms Carl B Carl Craig Carol C Caroline Records Carpe Sonum Records CD-Maximum Ceephax Acid Crew Celestial Dragon Records Cell Celtic Cheb i Sabbah Cheeky Records chemical breaks Chihei Hatakeyama chill-out chiptune Chris Duckenfield Chris Fortier Chris Korda Chris Sheppard Christopher Lawrence Chromeo Chronos Chrysalis Ciaran Byrne cinematic soundscapes Circular Cirrus Cities Last Broadcast CJ Stone Claptone classic house classic rock classical Claude Young Clear Label Records Cleopatra Cloud 9 Club Cutz Cocoon Recordings Coldcut Coldplay Colette collagist Columbia Com.Pact Records comedy Compilation Comrie Smith Connect.Ohm conscious Control Music Cor Fijneman Cosmic Gate Cosmic Replicant Cosmos Studios Council Of Nine Counter Records country country rock Covert Operations Recordings Craig Padilla Crazy Horse Cream Creamfields Crockett's Theme Crosby Stills And Nash Crosstown Rebels crunk Cryo Chamber Cube Guys Culture Beat cut'n'paste Cyan Music Cyber Productions CyberOctave Czarface D-Bridge D-Fuse Dacru Records Daddy G Daft Punk Damian Lazarus Damon Albarn Dan The Automator Dance 2 Trance Dance Pool dancehall Daniel Heatcliff Daniel Wanrooy Dao Da Noize dark ambient dark psy darkside darkstep darkwave Darren McClure Databloem David Bickley David Morley DDR Deadmau5 Death Row Records Deejay Goldfinger Deep Dish Deep Forest deep house Deeply Rooted House Deepwater Black Def Jam Recordings Del Tha Funkee Homosapien Delerium Deltron 3030 Depeche Mode Der Dritte Raum Derek Carr Detroit DFA DGC diametric. Dieselboy Different DigiCube Dillinja dirty house Dirty South Dirty Vegas disco Disco Gecko disco house disco punk Discover (label) Disky Disques Dreyfus Distant System Disturbance DJ 3000 DJ Brian DJ Craze DJ Dan DJ Dean DJ Gonzalo DJ Heather DJ John Kelley DJ Merlin DJ Mix DJ Moe Sticky DJ Observer DJ Premier DJ Q-Bert DJ Shadow DJ-Kicks Djen Ajakan Shean DJMag DMC DMC Records Doc Scott Dogon Dogwhistle Dopplereffekt Dossier downtempo dowtempo Dr. Atmo Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show Dragon Quest dream house DreamWorks Records Drexciya drill 'n' bass Dronarivm drone Dronny Darko drum 'n' bass drunken review dub Dub Pistols dub techno Dub Trees Dubfire dubstep DuMonde Dune E-Mantra E-Z Rollers Eardream Music Earth Earth Nation Earthling Eastcoast EastWest Eat Static EBM Echodub Ed Rush & Optical Editions EG EDM World Weekly News electro Electro House Electro Sun electro-funk electro-pop electroclash Electronic Dance Essentials Electrovoya Elektra Elektrolux em:t EMC update EMI Eminem Emmerichk Emperor Norton enCAPSULAte Engine Recordings Enigma Enmarta Epic epic trance Erik Vee Erol Alkan Escape Esoteric Reactive ethereal euro dance Eurythmics Eve Records Ewan Pearson experimental Eye Q Records F Communications Fabric Fade Records Faithless Fallen fanfic Fatboy Slim Fax +49-69/450464 Fear Factory Fedde Le Grand Fehrplay Feist Fektive Records Felix da Housecat Fennesz Ferry Corsten FFRR field recordings Filter filters Final Fantasy Five AM Fjäder Flashover Recordings Floating Points Flowers For Bodysnatchers Flowjob Fluke Flying Lotus folk footwork Force Intel Fountain Music Four Tet FPU Frank Bretschneider Frankie Bones Frankie Knuckles Fred Everything freestyle French house Front Line Assembly Fugees full-on Fun Factory funk future garage Future Sound Of London g-funk gabber Gabriel Le Mar Galaktlan Galati Gang Starr gangsta garage Gas Gasoline Alley Records Gee Street Geffen Records Gel-Sol Genesis Gerald Donald Get Physical Music ghetto Ghostface Killah glam Gliese 581C glitch Global Underground Globular goa trance God Body Disconnect Gorillaz gospel Gost goth Grammy Awards grime Groove Armada Groove Corporation Grooverider grunge Guru GZA Haddaway Halgrath happy hardcore hard house hard rock hard trance hardcore Hardfloor hardstyle Harmless Harmonic 33 Harold Budd Harthouse Harthouse Mannheim Hawtin Hearts Of Space Hed Kandi Hell Hercules And Love Affair Hernán Cattáneo Hi-Bias Records Hic Sunt Leones Hiero Emperium Hieroglyphics High Contrast Higher Intelligence Agency hip-hop hip-house hipno Hooj Choons Hope Records horrorcore Hospital Records Hot Chip Hotflush Recordings house Huey Lewis & The News Human Blue Hybrid Leisureland Hyperdub Hypertrophy hypnotic records I Awake I.F.O.R. I.R.S. Records Iboga Records Ice Cube Ice H2o Records ICE MC IDM illbient Imperial Dancefloor Imploded View In Charge In Trance We Trust Incoming Incubus indie rock Industrial Infected Mushroom Infinite Guitar influence records Infonet Inner Ocean Records Insane Clown Posse Inspectah Deck Instinct Ambient Instra-Mental Inter-Modo Interchill Records Internal International Deejays Gigolo Interscope Records Intimate Productions Intuition Recordings ISBA Music Entertainment Ishkur Island Records Italians Do It Better italo disco italo house Jack Moss Jam and Spoon Jam El Mar James Horner James Murray James Zabiela Jamie Jones Jamie Myerson Jamie Principle Javelin Ltd. Jay Haze Jay Tripwire Jaydee jazz jazz dance jazzstep Jean-Michel Jarre Jefferson Airplane Jerry Goldsmith Jesper Dahlbäck Jiri.Ceiver Jive Jive Electro Jliat Jlin Joel Mull Joey Beltram John '00' Fleming John Digweed John Graham John Kelly John O'Callaghan Johnny Cash Johnny Jewel Jonny L Jori Hulkkonen Jørn Stenzel Josh Wink Journeys By DJ™ LLC Joyful Noise Recordings Juan Atkins juke Jump Cut Jumpin' & Pumpin' jungle Junior Boy's Own Junkie XL Juno Reactor Jurassic 5 Kay Wilder KDJ Ken Ishii Kenji Kawai Kenny Glasgow Keoki Keosz Kerri Chandler Kevin Braheny Kevorkian Records Khooman Khruangbin Kid Koala Kiko Kinetic Records King Cannibal King Midas Sound King Tubby Kitaro Klang Elektronik Klaus Schulze Koch Records Koichi Sugiyama Kolhoosi 13 Komakino Kompakt Kon Kan Kool Keith Kozo Kraftwelt Kraftwerk Krafty Kuts krautrock Krill.Minima Kris O'Neil Kriztal Kruder and Dorfmeister Krusseldorf KuckKuck Kurupt L.S.G. Lab 4 Ladytron Lafleche Lange Large Records Lars Leonhard Laserlight Digital LateNightTales Latin Laurent Garnier LCD Soundsystem Leama and Moor Lee 'Scratch' Perry Lee Norris Leftfield Legacy Leon Bolier LFO Linear Labs Lingua Lustra liquid funk Liquid Sound Design Liquid Stranger Live live album Loco Dice Lodsb London acid crew London Classics London Elektricity London Records 90 Ltd London-Sire Records Loop Guru Loreena McKennitt Lorenzo Montanà Lost Language Loud Records Loverboy Luaka Bop Luciano Luke Slater Lustmord M_nus M.A.N.D.Y. M.I.K.E. Madonna Magda Mali Mammoth Records Marc Simz Marcel Dettmann Marco Carola Marco V Mark Farina Mark Norman Mark Pritchard Markus Schulz Marshmello Martin Cooper Martin Nonstatic Märtini Brös Marvin Gaye Maschine Massive Attack Masta Killa Matthew Dear Max Graham maximal Maxx MCA Records McProg Meanwhile Meat Loaf Meditronica Memex Menno de Jong Mercury Mesmobeat metal Method Man Metroplex Metropolis Miami Bass Miami Dub Machine Michael Brook Michael Jackson Michael Mayer Mick Chillage micro-house microfunk Microscopics MIG Miguel Migs Mike Saint-Jules Mike Shiver Miktek Mille Plateaux Millennium Records Mind Distortion System Mind Over MIDI mini-CDs minimal minimal tech-house Ministry Of Sound miscellaneous Misja Helsloot Miss Kittin Miss Moneypenny's Mixmag Mo Wax MO-DU Moby Model 500 modern classical Moist Music Moodymann Moonshine Moss Garden Motech Moving Shadow Mujaji Murmur Music link Music Man Records musique concrete Mutant Sound System Mute Muzik Magazine My Best Friend Mystica Tribe N-Trance Nacht Plank Nadia Ali Nas Nature Sounds Naughty By Nature Nebula Neil Young Neotropic nerdcore Nettwerk Neurobiotic Records New Age New Jack Swing new wave Nic Fanciulli Nick Höppner Night Time Stories Nimanty Nine Inch Nails Ninja Tune Nirvana No Mask Effect Nobuo Uematsu Nomad Nonesuch Nonplus Records Nookie Nordic Trax Norman Feller Northumbria Nothing Records NovaMute NRG Ntone nu-jazz nu-skool Nuclear Blast Entertainment Nulll Nurse With Wound NXP Octagen Offshoot Offshoot Records Ol' Dirty Bastard old school rave Ole Højer Hansen Olga Musik Olien Oliver Lieb Olsen Omni Trio Omnimotion Omnisonus One Little Indian Oophoi Oosh Open Canvas Opus III orchestral Original TranceCritic review Ornament Ostgut Ton Ott Ouragan OutKast Outpost Records Overdream Pantera Pantha Du Prince Paolo Mojo Parlaphone Paul Moelands Paul Oakenfold Paul van Dyk Perfect Stranger Perfecto Perturbator Pet Shop Boys Petar Dundov Pete Namlook Pete Tong Peter Benisch Peter Gabriel Peter Tosh Phonothek Photek Phutureprimitive Phynn PIAS Recordings Pink Floyd PJ Harvey Planet Dog Planet Earth Recordings Planet Mu Planetary Consciousness Plastic City Plastikman Platipus Plump DJs PM Dawn Poker Flat Recordings politics Polydor Polytel pop Popular Records Porya Hatami post-dubstep Prince Prins Thomas Priority Records prog prog psy Progression progressive breaks progressive house progressive rock progressive trance Prolifica Proper Records Prototype Recordings protoU Pryda psy chill psy dub Psy Spy Records psy trance psy-chill psy-dub psychedelia Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia Psychonavigation Psychonavigation Records Psycoholic Psykosonik Public Enemy punk punk rock Pureuphoria Records Purl Push PWL International Quadrophonia Quality Quango Quinlan Road R & S Records R'n'B R&B Rabbit In The Moon Radio Slave Radioactive Radioactive Man Radiohead Raekwon Ralph Lawson RAM Records Randal Collier-Ford Random Review Rank 1 rant RareNoise Records Rascalz Raster-Noton Ratatat Raum Records RCA React Red Jerry Refracted reggae remixes Renaissance Rephlex Reprise Records Resist Music Restless Records Rhino Records Rhys Fulber Ricardo Villalobos Riley Reinhold Rising High Records RnB Roadrunner Records Robert Hood Robert Miles Robert Oleysyck Roc Raida rock rock opera rockabilly rocktronica Roger Sanchez ROIR Rollo Rough Trade Rub-N-Tug Rumour Records Running Back Ruthless Records RZA S.E.T.I. Sabled Sun Salt Tank Salted Music Salvation Music Samim sampling Sanctuary Records Sander van Doorn Sandoz Sarah McLachlan Sash Sasha Scandinavian Records Scann-Tec sci-fi Scott Hardkiss Scott Stubbs Scuba Seán Quinn Segue Sense Sentimony Records Sequential Seraphim Rytm Setrise Seven Davis Jr. Shaded Explorations Shaded Explorer Shadow Records Sharam Shawn Francis shoegaze Si Matthews SideOneDummy Records Signature Records SiJ Silent Season silly gimmicks Silver Age Simon Berry Simon Heath Simon Posford Simple Records Sinden single Sire Records Company Six Degrees Sixeleven Records ska Skin To Skin Slinky Music Sly and Robbie Smalltown Supersound SME Visual Works Inc. Snap Sneijder Snoop Dogg Solar Fields Solaris Recordings Solarstone Solieb Soliquid Solstice Music Europe Soma Quality Recordings Songbird Sony Music Entertainment soul Soul Temple Entertainment Souls Of Mischief Sound Of Ceres Soundgarden Sounds From The Ground soundtrack southern rap southern rock space ambient Space Dimension Controller Space Manoeuvres space synth Spank Rock Special D speed garage Speedy J Spicelab Spiritech spoken word Spotify Suggestions Spotted Peccary SPX Digital Squarepusher Squaresoft Stanton Warriors Star Trek Stardust Statrax Stay Up Forever Stephanie B Stephen Kroos Steve Angello Steve Miller Band Steve Porter Stijn van Cauter Stone Temple Pilots Stonebridge Stormloop Stray Gators Street Fighter Stuart McLean Studio K7 Stylophonic Sub Focus Sublime Sublime Porte Netlabel Substance Sun Station Sunbeam Sunday Best Recordings Superstition surf rock Sven Väth Swayzak swing Switch Sylk 130 Symmetry Sync24 Synergy Synkro synth pop synthwave System 7 Tactic Records Tall Paul Tammy Wynette Tangerine Dream Tau Ceti Tayo tech-house tech-step tech-trance Technical Itch techno technobass Technoboy Tectonic Terminal Antwerp Terra Ferma Terry Lee Brown Jr Textere Oris The Beach Boys The Beatles The Black Dog The Brian Jonestown Massacre The Bug The Chemical Brothers The Clash The Council The Cranberries The Crystal Method The Digital Blonde The Dust Brothers The Glimmers The Green Kingdom The Grey Area The Hacker The Human League The Irresistible Force The KLF The Misted Muppet The Movement The Music Cartel The Null Corporation The Offspring The Orb The Police The Prodigy The Shamen The Sharp Boys The Sonic Voyagers The Squires The Tea Party The Tragically Hip The Velvet Underground The Wailers The White Stripes themes Thievery Corporation Third Contact Thrive Records Tiefschwarz Tiësto Tiga Tiger & Woods Time Warp Timecode Tobias Todd Terje Tom Middleton Tomita Tommy Boy Ton T.B. Tone Depth Tony Anderson Sound Orchestra Tool Topaz Tosca Toto Touch Tourette Records trance Trancelucent Tranquillo Records Trans'Pact Transformers Transient Records trap Trax Records Trend Trentemøller Tresor tribal Tricky Triloka Records trip-hop Trishula Records Troum Tuff Gong Tunnel Records Turbo Recordings turntablism TUU TVT Records Twisted Records Type O Negative U-God U2 Überzone Ugasanie UK acid house UK Garage Ultimae Ultra Records Umbra Underworld Union Jack United Dairies United DJs Of America Universal Music UOVI Upstream Records Urban Icon Records V2 Vagrant Records Valiska Valley Of The Sun Vangelis Vap Vector Lovers Venetian Snares Venonza Records Vermont Vernon Verve Records VGM Vice Records Victor Calderone Vince DiCola Vinyl Cafe Productions Virgin Virtual Vault Virus Recordings Visionquest Vitalic vocal trance Wagram Music Warp Records Warren G Water Music Dance Waveform Records Wax Trax Records WEA Weekly Mini-Review White Swan Records William Orbit Willie Nelson world beat world music writing reflections Wu-Tang Clan Wyatt Keusch XL Recordings Yello Yes Youth Youtube YoYo Records Yul Records Zenith ZerO One Zoo Entertainment ZTT Zyron ZYX Music µ-Ziq