Something happens about 90 seconds into New Jack Techno's opener, Gingy and Bordello's "Iron & Water"—this single pounding chord comes in, turning the track from puerile and pedestrian to fist-pumping. Chances are your fist is going to stay up for the rest of the compilation. Like the name implies, there's something new and different going on with Turbo these days, and this compilation neatly illustrates it over ten solid, no-holds-barred dancefloor bombs. There are no arty ambient interludes, no experiments, just 62 minutes of 4/4 savagery. The label has always had a soft spot for techno, but it's never been this streamlined or powerful. We've come a long way from Chromeo and Gesaffelstein, and Dorothy, we're not in Montreal anymore.
The new destination isn't quite Berlin, though you could be convinced from the orthodox techno here. But rather New Jack Techno makes it out to be, of all places, Toronto. Aside from local duo Gingy & Bordello's storming opener (and Gingy's equally strong collaboration with Locked Groove), the compilation also features Nautiluss' most down-and-dirty track yet. On "Troubleman," scrap metal basslines rub against the grain of glittering synth arpeggios, while Milano returns to the label with the woozy "Wasteland," which sounds like it's unraveling into a haze of burned circuitry smoke. I don't know what they're putting in the water in Canada's largest city, but it would seem there's some noxious chemical compound producing the harshest industrial-strength techno this side of CLR.
The compilation's non-Toronto offerings are thankfully just as strong. Belgian man of the moment Locked Groove continues his strong 2012 run on "Different Paths," with a demented drum break that sounds like bank vault doors slamming in rhythm. Scottish outfit Clouds provide New Jack Techno's least forgiving moment in "Gang 49," overwhelmed by white noise so engulfing you can practically smell the smoke machines dampening the stale Berghain air. Meanwhile, we get a taste of a promising newcomer in J Tijn's "The Anti Mixdown," which takes the rigid grooves of Locked Groove's contribution and wreaks bloody havoc on the rigor mortis corpse.
New Jack Techno represents a move for Turbo into exciting new territory, and despite its timeliness, it also sounds distinctly honest and true—this techno is too vital to be trendy. It's all the more impressive given that it presents a fresh-faced roster from Canada—not the first place you're likely to look when you think of meat-and-potatoes techno. So put your fist down now. You’ll need to rest it before the next play-through, because you’ll probably be playing it a lot, or at least hearing these tracks soundtrack your summer spent in dimly-lit rooms.