There aren't that many underground labels that specialise in putting out split releases. Maybe this is because Dutch label Field excels at compiling tracks from various producers and no one else wants to compete with them. Certainly, Field's expertise is audible on this third taster for its first CD collection. Every track on 3/3 is dance floor based, but each one is different. '"Narcosis" by Artefakt sounds like a midnight ride through a tunnel, the steel girders and yellow lights reflected in its wiry framework, while Iori's "Inject" is a grimy rhythm soaked in acid. Finally, Szare reverts to a similarly futurist approach as Artefakt, but "All Over" is more stepping and grittier, thanks to its tough drums and claps.
The seventh instalment on Tommy Four Seven's label spans a wide gamut of modern techno. At one end, there's the simmering, droning abstractions of Eomac's "Refugee", while at the other end of the scale, the label owner drops "UUU", a peak-time acid banger that cruises with murderous intent. In between both of these extremes, the release yields two tracks that in many ways encapsulate the ever-shifting nature of modern electronic music. Cosmin TRG and Szare come from different backgrounds - the former originally from drum'n'bass, the latter from purist techno - but on "Singe" and "Invern" respectively, their rumbling rhythms and textured atmospherics arriving at the same destination from different start points.
Are Szare trying to imbue techno with meaningful messages or merely injecting some fun into a musical form not known for its humour? This writer suspects the former is the case. While track names like "Crop Failure" suggest that they have an environmental agenda, the reality is that Rain God is a continuation of the stepping techno sound they explored so articulately on last year's Lost Shapes album. Tracks like "The Silver Number" and the aforementioned "Crop Failure" resound to percussive whirrs and robust, lurching bass tones. There are deviations from this sound on the more abrasive, snare-rolling "Buried Rails" and the rumbling, organic drums of "Overcharged by the Pump", but in the main this is skilfully executed techno served up with a wry sense of humour.
When he's not dropping wiry minimal bombs for the enigmatic Horizontal Ground/ Frozen Border operation, Szare can be found curating his own Syndrome Z label. This release, on Idle Hands, sees the producer dropping the tempo and focusing on a more abstract approach. The title track unfolds to the sound of a humming bass, randomly arranged, pitter-pattering claps and disjointed vocal samples. "Action Five" meanwhile is more dreamy, but through its atmospheric textures comes the unmistakably seductive shaking percussive licks that are synonymous with Szare's music and which guarantees its usefulness for DJs.
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