Ten years ago, Tresor Records celebrated its first decade with a three CD box called True Spirit. It was a well-deserved victory lap, mixing the label's own banger-heavy original catalog (X-101's "Sonic Destroyer," Jeff Mills' "Late Night [Mills Mix]," Mike Dearborn's remix of Joey Beltram's "Game Form") with choice nuggets like Bam Bam's 1989 "Where's Your Child?" (re-pressed in 2001 by the Tresor sub-label Archiv with a DJ Rush remix on the A-side).
Tresor has put out plenty in the decade since then. But even with every other big dance indie rushing to throw parties and put out comps to celebrate any anniversary divisible by five, the Berlin techno powerhouse has elected to downplay its 20th birthday some. Mike Huckaby, who's played the club but never issued anything on the label, provides a 22-cut, hour-long mix: exactly an hour, in fact. It makes a kind of anti-statement—something like, You can have all the giant box sets and multiple versions of the repackaged catalog you want, and that's OK. But in the end, what matters is how it boils down.
Boil 20th Anniversary does. Though Huckaby's set is laid out in an arc—start bustling, rev up to punishing, then cool things out for the final stretch—its edges stay rough. It sounds played live rather than neatly composed, like it's not looking particularly toward posterity even if that's the way it's packaged. Even when Huckaby throws a snatch of the DJ Rush version of "Where's Your Child" near the top to mark his turf, it comes across as something we've just walked into. Rather than the photosynthesis-evolutionary style of other big-marker mixes like DJ DB's History of Our World Part 1 or Deadbeat's Radio Rothko, Huckaby gets a real-time, in-the-moment quality that suits the material.
Of course, the Tresor sound was always so busy and bustling that it may simply camouflage Huckaby's careful planning. Tracks like Cristian Vogel's "Absolute," whose hurtling kick and looping bass live up to the track's title, and Joey Beltram's "Game Form," in which machines jack harder than most Chicago house, both stay in their tight boxes and explode their form at every turn. When Bam Bam's "Give It to Me" arrives about 23 minutes in, all that inner-directed energy is released—"I'm a man, baby," indeed—before Huckaby ramps things up some more. Only in this company could Robert Hood's "Chase" or Surgeon's "Black Jackal Throwbacks," the two finishers, be considered "calm." Who'd want it any other way?
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Tracklist: Mike Huckaby - Tresor Records 20th Anniversary 01. Surgeon - Remnants Of What Once Was
02. Bam Bam - Where's Your Child (DJ Rush Remix)
03. Robert Hood - Master Builder
04. Mike Huckaby - The Tresor Track
05. Cisco Ferreira - Womans Scent (Hertz Rmx)
06. Cristian Vogel - Absolute Time
07. Joey Beltram - Ball Park
08. Joey Beltram - Game Form (Mike Dearborn Remix)
09. Joey Beltram - Game Form
10. Joey Beltram - Instant
11. Bam Bam - Give It To Me
12. Bam Bam - Where's Your Child
13. Surgeon - Returning To The Purity Of Current
14. Jeff Mills - Late Night
15. Robert Hood - Minus
16. Robert Hood - The Core
17. Joey Beltram - Instant (Paul Johnson Remix)
18. Drexciya - Devil Ray Cove
19. Drexciya - Under Sea Disturbances
20. Drexciya - Digital Tsunami
21. Robert Hood - Chase
22. Surgeon - Black Jackal Throwbacks
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