V/A :: Various II (030303)

The Dutch label is returning to where it began, returning to the format of double LP compilation to bring together some old school, and brand new, sounds utilizing the liquefied tweaks of that well known Acid engine.

I’ve always had a soft spot for a bit of Acid music. As a teenager in the late 90s in the middle of Ireland there wasn’t much of it about. There wasn’t a local record shop but by 2000 the internet was available in the wilds of the Emerald Isle, barely available but if ‘ya pedaled hard enough a website might load. I took to Mike Dred immediately. I still recall getting out of bed one night to bid on his Machine Code box set. Sad ‘ole stuff. Won it though. I’m a fan of the 303, bought an x0xbox last year. I’m a fan, but some out there are fanatics. 030303 are devout. So much so the DJ collective and label christianed themselves after the eponymous machine. The Dutch label is returning to where it began, returning to the format of double LP compilation to bring together some old school, and brand new, sounds utilizing the liquefied tweaks of that well known Acid engine.

Up first is an unlikely assailant, Manchester’s Kid Machine. Mr Machine is better known for his twinkling electro disco sounds and blissed out soundtracks. The Mancunian keeps to form and delivers a swimming piece of 80s inspired, late evening, Thriller action. The all-too-familiar shriek of the box arrives with Dexter and “FaderPusher.” Cosmic Force appears to have been quiet of late, but returns with devastating sounds. Beats pulverise in thankless succession as basslines are cut and decayed into early morning horror. Ra-X has been getting some well deserved attention under his Drvg Cvltvre moniker, the Netherlander injecting New Wave abrasiveness into House and Electro structures. Techno is the serving for Various II, and a superb piece it is. A pulsating rhythm is developed before the veteran rips with cavernous chords. Alongside the big guns sit some new names. Jonny3 Snares offers Ceephax style quirk before Roy of the Ravers ups the abstraction with a carnival of freaked out knob wrenching. Ireland’s Automatic Tasty opens the sister slab. Dark vocals, from the Uncle, are placated by free floating bars. 101 Force go retrospective, a modern take on the classic Chicago House sound. Waiting in the shadows are two of the biggest names of the Acid revival. Jared Wilson has enjoyed some serious press, and audience, attention of late. “Morning Acid” is emblematic of why. The track takes deep notes and plays them against tough cymbal crashes and whirling bass lines. A heady, reeling, piece of floor music. Elec Pt 1 (aka Andreas Gehm) is kept for last. The final assault is laid down—chords are ribboned in a frenzy of cutoff and slide, destroying as he builds.

I’ve written a decent amount about the resurgence of Acid. I would say that the second age of the 303 is probably complete and its sounds are now fixed in electronic music. Techno, House, Electro, IDM and even Ambient have all utilized the squawk of the infamous Roland bass synth and today more and more artists are turning to the pioneering music box. Various II gathers artists exploring a range of styles, but all employing that little machine. A wonderful investigation of genres and a further solidification of the potential contained  in that powerful, small, and originally overlooked, analogue instrument.

Various II is available on 030303. [Clone]

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