Boddika's Nonplus+ label has gone from redefining atmospheric drum & bass to becoming one of the UK's most reliable outposts for dark and moody techno. Going back to the very first release, there's a thread that ties it all together—it's hard to describe, but it's there. The music on Nonplus+ tends to sound decidedly robotic, the sum of its automated parts somehow more stirring than most. The label's first full-length compilation exhibits Boddika's keen A&Ring with a collection of club tracks as sleek and stylish as ever.
Think and Change brings together label regulars—Kassem Mosse, Lowtec, Boddika—and a few newcomers, like Pearson Sound, Four Tet and Martyn. Each producer turns in his most chrome-plated productions, where every glimpse of melody takes on a neon glow. Kassem Mosse's brilliantly icy "IP Mirrors" is one of his best. Endian's "Straight Intention" is jacking house of a Herculean sort. Four Tet turns in an uncharacteristically straight banger with the short but dense "For These Times." Its key element is a classic-house style organ turned cold.
And things gets even darker: Pearson Sound's creepy "Quivver" loads his typically skeletal framework with violent lunges of sub-bass and a skin-crawling vocal sample. Boddika's latest collaboration with Joy Orbison, "&Fate," is among their most rabid and feverish work to date. Which brings us to the latter's "Big Room Tech House DJ Tool - TIP!," an anthem that sits in the middle of the package like a hydrogen bomb waiting to go off, and whose title itself is a handy decoder for what Nonplus+ is doing to house cliches: mangling them while still acknowledging their purpose. The vocal sample tattoos itself on your brain in that inimitable Joy Orbison way, but listen closely and it's bellowing into a vacuum.
Even while he's helping to define the future, Boddika isn't one to forget his roots. Placed near the end is an old track from the original Autonomic triumvirate, Instra:mental & dBridge's "White Snares." Its taut drum & bass tick feels quaint in the midst of its strange bedfellows, but it also gains a certain power—a reminder of the heights the label achieved in a completely different world only a few years ago, and the vast distance it's travelled since.
Tracklist: Various - Think and ChangeA Boddika & Joy Orbison - &Fate
B Lowtec - The Rhythm
C Four Tet - For These Times
D Boddika - Beats Me
E Pearson Sound - Quiver
F Endian - Straight Intention
G Joy Orbison - Big Room Tech House Dj Tool - TIP!
H Kassem Mosse - IP Mirrors
I Instra:mental & dBridge - White Snares
J Martyn - Bad Chicago