(01.30.07) It’s been a long time since the Dutch champions of new techno Delsin released a full length solo album. $tinkworx Ain’t ‘Chit History was released back in 2004 and the only full length release from the label since then is the critically acclaimed though ultimately uninspiring Planet Delsin – Interstellar Sounds of Stardust compilation. Coupled with a few other twelves here and there, including releases from the execrable DJ Yoav B (whose material sounds like the rambling ad-libs of a four year old) and a new website that was, frankly, hideous and you had a label that seemed to be losing its way.
Today, the unhelpful website may still look the same, but the physical and sonic output of Delsin has changed considerably over that time. Gone is the eclectic and quirky black and white photography that adorned previous releases, replaced now with organic, futuristic swirling colour designs and, in the case of The eMotion Sequence, a cleverly designed spiral of audio DNA that pictorially sums up the music.
Delsin has been releasing new slabs of vinyl of by a plethora of new artists for a while now but, though it might sound like hyperbole, The eMotion Sequence is fortunately one the label’s finest releases to date. Delsin’s mission statement for a long time now has been to champion techno by tweaking and molding it for the 21st century. At this, Vince Watson is a master craftsman. All the key elements of classic old-school techno are here, but Watson has delicately re-sculptured them, smoothing off the hard or jagged edges that often characterised early techno works. The result is The eMotion Sequence (a title that brilliant sums up the genre in three words), an epic suite of truly deluxe pieces that absolutely nails Delsin’s mission statement.
The eMotion Sequence is a mirror-polished, dazzling and positively addictive experience from start to finish thanks to Watson’s considered track ordering that sees the tone shift from dance floor stompers to edgy, nervous mood pieces at precisely the right moments. “Long Way From Home” is pure perfection, setting off with uneasy, gargling keys and hissing percussion, soft strings fade up and are joined by an exquisite fireworks display of insanely infections melodic synth sparks. The gargling keys disappear in the middle of the piece (mere moments before threatening to outstay their welcome), replaced by jazzier, analogue keyboard workouts before returning once again to the fireworks display and those keys again (that you suddenly realize you’d been missing terribly for the last few minutes). Watson’s consummate timing, programming and feel for mood and melody in this and other pieces is simply amazing.
The title track is another example of Watson’s immaculately constructed art, as quivering, surging drone pads weave through 808 rhythms as yet more analogue keys and glittering bleeps, and is brilliantly placed right before “Ioa” which bumps the insistent, relentless energy of “The eMotion Sequence” up another notch, its piston like percussion and deep, dense atmospherics literally flooding the senses. Album closer “Solitude” strays from the fold a little too much in terms of tone and style in my opinion, it’s downtempo, housey aura leaving a slightly skewed impression of the album as a whole and “Fragment 7″‘s piercingly tinny hi-hat percussion (that doesn’t let up throughout the track) gets very annoying very fast, but these are very minor issues with an album that has been put together with consummate care and attention to detail.
The eMotion Sequence is such a complete album that dissecting specific tracks feels like one is taking something away from it. Techno albums frequently suffer from the same problem: it all feels like too much to take in one sitting. Not so with The eMotion Sequence, which has been crafted with an unrivaled attention to detail that results in an experience so engaging you’ll be returning to it again and again for years to come.
The eMotion Sequence is out now on Delsin.