Across this five disc archive are some of the men who founded electronic music, names that breathed life into the genre and inspired a generation. Whether a newcomer to Techno or an aging ear, this is a once in a quarter century collection; the likes of which won’t be seen again for a long time.
I like Techno. I like the nostalgia attached to it, or perhaps I’m attaching that nostalgia. For me Techno is, and nearly always will be, rooted in the fingers of the founding fathers of the 90s. There are contemporary artists who fly the flag for this brand of mechanized music; fellow minded farers casting off into analogue futures. But, in my bones, I feel that if it weren’t for the intrepidness of those first voyagers that today’s bounty would be that bit less precious.
De:tuned, with their latest mouth watering offering, have sought to bridge that gap between past greatness and the present-day. Across a five vinyl compilation set, yes five, yes echoes of In Order to Dance 5, this Antwerp imprint has collected pioneers of electronics alongside some talented upstarts for twenty one tracks of unadulterated machine music.
Let’s get name dropping: Luke Vibert. EDMX. B12. Mike Dred. More? No problem. Leo Analdi. Terrace. Neil Landstrum. Mike Dearborn. More? You’ll have to wait. These heavyweights, and more, have been gathered across this quintuplet of waxen slabs with offerings of reclaimed tracks and new pieces.
The full gamut is on show. Full throttle thumpers and soft centered cerebral callisthenics. One name that leapt from the tracklist was L.A. Synthesis. The team of Anthony Gallagher and Carl Granthas been dormant since the 90s but come back to life with the snap and soul of “Reprise.” Cascading chords are supported by thickly cut beats for some nowadays nostalgia. Steffan Robbers is on hand, under his Terrace guise, to break floorboards. Smacking rhythm is met by juddering melodies to revive that unmistakable Eevolute sound. Around every corner, or groove bend, is another generous serving. Fellow Dutchman Marteen Van Der Vlueten is up next with another work of Golden Age electronics. And this is what this gathering does so well, it looks back on the inspirational dawn of whilst seeking new ground.
But, it was always going to be the big names who would demand the most attention on this boxset. Mark Archer, of Altern 8 fame, gets the fog machine billowing with white knuckle material. Dreamy, seductive bars and countered by smash and grab percussion for a time capsule atomic. Hardfloor, who recently posted a cracking mix for this release, are drafted in to bring mid morning moodiness. The German veterans coil 303 around snare, sending the latter skyward with ever more daring tweaks. My own hero, Mike Dred, is in playful form for the fairground plink Acid of “Lound.” As the 12”s spin out and the morning light slithers through the windows the relentless march forward continues. The Advent dent walls and lose deposits with “Road Rage” before Robert Leiner takes a match to carpet and curtains with the speedfreak of “Metal Rider.” The final torch-bearer is Mike Dearborn, the Detroit trailblazer burning the remnants of the floor with a scorching Acid assault.
Rephlex, Djax Up Beats, Warp, R&S, Plus8, Eevolute et al. Just some of the legendary labels graced by the cohort featured in this audio gathering. I apologize if there’s a bit of gushing above, but there’s reason to. It’s been a very very long time since a compilation has been so ambitious. Across this five disc archive are some of the men who founded electronic music, names that breathed life into the genre and inspired a generation. Whether a newcomer to Techno or an aging ear, this is a once in a quarter century collection; the likes of which won’t be seen again for a long time.
5 Years of De:Tuned is available on De:Tuned.