Review: V.A. – “Black Series 004”; Reeko w/ Architectural – “The Blue Album”

The holidays are over and as the music industry follows a cyclical movement, we can rely on the fact that a torrent of new releases is coming out in the current aftermath of Summer. After having survived all festivals, gigs, parties and concerts, it’s time again to focus your attention and spend your money on records and digital music files! I realize it’s been a while since I reviewed some new techno material, so here are some suggestions and more will follow before long.

APEW004_BlackSeries_CoverArtworkBWebFirst I would like to mention the fourth instalment in the ‘Black Series’ of the label Authentic Pew.  This modest record company was initiated at the beginning of 2012 in Chemnitz, Germany by Perthil & Aerts. The duo has been playing extensively in their home country and is getting more and more attention abroad as well, which I believe is completely justified. The ep consists of three original tracks of different artists (in fact all but one are collective efforts) and one remix by Perthil & Aerts themselves. Two producers from Paris working under the name of As Patria are responsible for ‘Arcan’ which is based on a singular, atmospheric groove that never gets boring thanks to the addition of several deep and haunting sounds.

Tomohiko Sagae’s ‘Chloroform’ on the other hand is not your typical sensation blocker.  Au contraire, it’s an industrial assembly of pounding beats, synchronised screeches and abrasive noises, generating a bodily response without fail.  On the A-side you’ll find a piece by Attac, a collaboration of Mallorca-based Angel Costa and Spanish twosome Attemporal, which is simply named ‘01’ and can be described as very decent though rather archetypal techno. Authentic Pew’s honchos reworked it into a metallic monster, all shiny chrome with well-polished details. ‘Black Series 004’ might not consist of the work of the most familiar names in the scene but it is nonetheless an outstanding ep.

Now that I’ve mentioned Spain, I should also bring up the large amount of quality releases that has come from the Iberian state during this year. A key in this tendency is the label PoleGroup which was set up by Oscar Mulero, Christian Wünsch, Exium and Reeko. Earlier in 2013, PoleGroup released an interesting album by Exium, a duo that normally produces and plays uplifting techno. For their ‘A Sensible Alternative to Emotion’ they experimented with slow tempos, dub inspired sounds and ambient-like backdrops. A short while ago the label issued another long-player from one of its founders: Juan Rico.

polegrouprecordings-018Rico produces under the guises of Reeko and Architectural and this record is taken as a collaboration of these alter egos. I believe this is quite a peculiar concept and since I loved Reeko’s ep ‘Passage #17’ that came out in February on his own Mental Disorder, I was curious to hear what ‘The Blue Album’ as it is called, would be like. All in all it is a very solid record, indeed combining slow-burning and atmospheric parts with traditional techno structures and feats. It may not contain the most original or stunning tracks in the genre, it still serves as an example of the merging of functionality sonorous beauty that techno at its best can achieve.

One could certainly say that ‘The Blue Album’ is tied together by a narrative structure while alternating between pumping dance-floor material, most often dark and even brutal such as ‘Force Carrier’ or ‘Startling Idea’, and cuts that expose a tendency towards refinement and ambience, like ‘Sex on Kepler-22b’ or the end-track ‘The Universal dream’.  The successful juxtaposition of these elements, which can be reduced to the musical essences of Reeko and Architectural, in this unifying arrangement of a kind of concept album, is exactly the record’s strength.

V.A. – “Black Series 004” is out since September 2nd

Track list:
1. Attac – 01
2. Attac – 01 (PertHil & Aerts Remix)
3. As Patria – Arcan
4. Tomohiko Sagae – Chloroform

Reeko w/ Architectural – “The Blue Album” is out since September 16th

Track list:
1. Blue
2. Melted
3. Dualities
4. Sex on Kepler-22b
5. Force Carriers
6. String Theory
7. Startling Idea
8. The Universal Dream

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