Techno's unquenchable thirst for the new has seen many fine developments fall by the wayside, callously discarded. Kompakt were the first and most vocal exponents of shuffle, that loping 6/8 rhythm derived from seventies glam, but it reached saturation point with Madonna shufflers and high street fashion chains piping it out like muzak. The work of Kompakt regular Thomas Fehlmann seemed best suited when shifted into shuffle gear, and alone or as The Orb, he produced some of shuffle's finest tracks. Doused in - now equally unfashionable - dub techno shimmer, his music bobs like flotsam swilling to and fro aboard a rusty vessel in bad seas. With bleepy minimal sounding tired, dub and shuffle may be ripe for revisiting.
'The Road' ('the first shuffle track to be found on Kompakt in a very long time') is a welcome return. With grimy offbeat pulses providing the Jamaican connection and a harmonica snatched from Canned Heat's 'On the Road Again', this chugs like dirty roadhouse blues banged out in some confused Texan rave. The follow-up 'Powdered' scatters the dirt like shiny confetti, opening in pop ambient mood before a wet flipper languidly kicks out the beat and broken arpeggios fade in and out, picking up plenty of dirt along the way.
The ska pulse returns for 'Dusted', as do streams of grit awash in echo, heavier rhythmic synth chunks and a picked electric bassline, before ending all bright and warm evoking label brethren Jonas Bering and SCSI-9. The finale 'Pristine' comes out all guns blazing: filled with delayed and reverbed Fehlmann squelch and truncated melodic passages – it's like Chain Reaction in colour. With four tracks of such high standard, this is like the Kompakt of old, with all four sure to fill floors.
Other Kompakt reviews