You’d think having a brand new 2CD compilation chronicling the best moments of Frankfurt’s Datapunk imprint mixed with exclusive and unreleased cuts barely even six months after the label unleashed a triple CD compilation doing the exact same thing would be a bit much, wouldn’t you? But that would be missing the very point of the genre altogether.
See, of all techno’s sub-genres, electro is the one that strives the most to repeat what has come before. The genre’s sense of self also has more to do with a certain attitude than a specific sound, and Anthony Rother has made an entire career, either as a producer or as a label owner, dedicated to it (in that regard, he is, at least more than Alter Ego, the true German King of Electro). Consequently, there is no point reproaching him the fact that all his tracks have been sounding exactly the same for years: he knows it, and he knows that we know. Jouissance, then, comes from the slight shift in angles, just like on ‘So Good’ (one of the numerous numbers he is providing here), on which his vocals, for instance, appear slightly more genuine than usual. Same thing can be said about the label’s other big names such as Artist Unknown or Billy Nasty (who were too, if you think about it, part of the first wave of nü-electro producers about ten years ago): they all contribute tracks here that could have been released at any time in the past decade on Disko B or Viewlexx, and it is this very dedication that makes them true and overall quite efficient.
On top of Gregor Tresher’s two contributions, my own personal favourite moments of this 150-minute selection belong to the Grenoble mafia, though. Kiko, for example, who got us in recent years used to more jacking cuts on Goodlife and Gigolo, gets all néo-trance-ish and moody on us on recent single ‘30.1’. His remix of Xenia Beliayeva (Rother’s latest protégée) is of the same breed: ‘Music’ is brooding and menacing yet melodious and strangely uplifting. Then Miss Kittin & The Hacker (whose seminal ‘Frank Sinatra’ single, legend has it, was recorded in Kiko’s very own home studio back then) weigh in with brand new material that shows 2008, after a recent new single and a much-talked about live performance in Paris last fall, might be theirs. The Hacker keeps producing on his own, and Miss Kittin has a new solo artist album out this month, but when they get together, there is still something to it, isn’t there? They were always more interested in the colder side of early Detroit techno than the flashy aspect of Electroclash anyway, and this brand new ‘Midlife Crisis’, albeit sonically stuck in time, has some sort of recently-acquired air of maturity, as if Miss Kittin was less interested in sucking dicks, licking asses, and getting her bum touched in the lift of the Empire State and more inclined to ask you to…dance with her, which I guess is quite a small revolution in itself for a genre that usually refuses to grow up or, for that matter, to grow old.
They say electro is in the ears of the beholder, but in the hands of Anthony Rother and his Datapunk label’s aging friends, you can fall for its skewed beauty all over again anytime.
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Tracklist: Anthony Rother presents We Are Punks 2CD1
01 Artist Unknown - Demons + girls
02 Xenia Beliayeva - Music
03 Anthony Rother - Adam & Eve
04 Anthony Rother - Moderntronic 3
05 Frank Kusserow - Human Being
06 Gregor Treshor - Doom
07 Xenia Beliayeva - Chocolate
08 Anthony Rother - Young
09 Kiko - 30.1
10 Billy Nasty - Iconic Warfare
11 Gregor Tresher - Heat
12 Anthony Rother - Synthetic
13 Anthony Rother - Space
01 Robert M - Eletkro Tape
02 Christopher Kah - Sensation I
03 Frank Kusserow - Sunflower
04 Internal Sync - Messed Up Road
05 Ziel 100 - Ready to fog
06 Anthony Rother - So Good
07 Billy Nasty - Electro Maloquerio
08 Umek - Vandal Derivate
09 Daniel Wilhelm - Alster Dream
10 Xenia Beliayeva - Music (Kiko Remix)
11 Frank Kusserow - Just a Little Tragedy
12 Miss Kittin & The Hacker - Midlife Crisis
13 Artist Unknown - Behind Your Eyes
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