Rivet is yet another masked techno producer, but on record he has far more to say than his anonymous peers. Roar, his first release on Ulf Eriksson's excellent Kontra label, sees him flirting with classic techno influences but also and more crucially, mapping out some new ideas. A dark, resonating bass that recalls Kevin Saunderson's Resse project is the central element on "Metrist". The key difference though is whereas the Saunderson project was oppressive and ominous, the bass on "Metrist" is jaunty, merging with insistent stabs and rasping percussion to create a lithe, DJ-friendly track. Anyway, it sounds like Kontra left the responsibility for techno clout to Marcel Fengler. The underlying rhythm on the Berghain resident's remix of "Metrist" is pumping and dense, in places almost claustrophobic. Coupled with a wall of building synths that have the same gothic grandeur as the architecture in the Berlin club's grandiose main room, it casts irresistibly menacing peak-time shadows. But the track of greatest interest is "Sleepwalker". There, Rivet forgoes the merciless 4/4 kick and instead crafts oaken off-beats as dense as a cathedral wall. To this solid base Rivet weaves in swirling synths and ghostly textures that loom in the background before disappearing as quickly as they emerged. It's subtle, quirky and shows that there's real substance and thought being put into this project. Long may he/she continue to nail it.
The pioneering Italo producer is still prolific in the studio, but he also has a huge back catalogue, as this latest reissue shows. A good deal of the release focuses on trippy synth scapes - "It's Not My Life" and "Dark Side of the Spoon" - or grainy ambience, audible on the various instalments of "Salt Peanuts" and "Air Stack". However, what really makes this collection so valuable are Robotnick's experiments at the edges of the Italo Disco sound. "Mexicana" features a sassy electro shuffle and camp vocals, "Studio 01" is the kind of sewer techno that Unit Moebius went on to make and "Arabesca" sees Robotnick welcome Middle Eastern motifs to his spacey disco sound. It makes for one hell of a journey.