The last track on Wings of Techno is a skit, a phone call between two music producers who are complaining about "the industry" and, specifically, idiotic labels that ask for "retro-futurist, commercial-underground" tracks. In a way, that conversation explains this album. Individually, Alex Cortex and Lopazz have always kicked against an electronic music scene which demands that, in order to maximise their marketability, artists must be genre-consistent and still alive to new trends. Needless to say, now that the Berlin duo are working together as Bad Cop, Bad Cop, they have no intention of knuckling under to orthodox definitions of house or techno.
It is a righteous stance, but one that, perhaps by its very nature, doesn't produce great albums. If you're going to follow your creative impulse wherever it takes you, the eclectic tracks that result still need to hang together as a body of work. Wings of Techno sounds like a collection of highly personal outtakes, demos and experiments, often sketched out in such a rudimentary way that they look very feint next to Lopazz's best work ("I Need Ya," his masterful "2 Fast 4 You").
Wilful noise is not the problem. If only it was. The fourth track, "Cornplex," is a so-so slab of distorted, lo-fi techno, but prior to that the vibe is playful sophistication. The opener, "Surfin USB," is perky, poppy even, all pots 'n' pans percussion, ricocheting bloops and wiggly little earworms. It recalls the eccentric micro-house that Snax or Nôze were making in 2007. "Cheeky" is 3 AM lover's funk, akin to No Regular Play's acid fried easy listening.
There are moments of great potential (the Superpitcher-esque indie-dance of "Bodyless Material"), and moments of genuine intrigue (the twisted, swampy melodica and sax-spattered funk of "Come Swallow Me"), but they are rarely developed beyond a basic, repetitive idea. The best track, "Unicorny," a beautiful excursion into sombre bass music, is dispensed in under three minutes. Is this an insider joke? It certainly sounds a lot like Zomby, another producer who isn't afraid to release bitty fragments of material. Either way, it's much better than "Schaschlik," an aimless meander of tinny, hissing drum machines, Moog-ish squiggles and bobbling hyper-funk which ultimately sounds like a warped cassette recording of some old Krautrock soundcheck. Was it fun to make? Possibly. Does that translate? No.