After outsourcing their Sci-Fi Hi-Fi mix series to a selection of young pretenders and underground stalwarts, the founders of Soma have decided it’s time they stamped their authority over the imprint. But after last year’s artist album, Human Response, returned to the darker, trademark Slam sound, would this mix bring to the plate a bout of throbbing techno or would it be an excursion into the more soulful style showcased on Year Zero? The answer, no doubt to the approval of Slam fans, is techno.
Sci-Fi Hi-Fi 5 is a mix that clearly wants to sound achingly contemporary and, despite the fact around half the tracks are from 2007, it succeeds. The order of the day is minimal, tech house, and a smattering of tribal. From the early highlights of Loco Dice’s remix of Social Material's "Class" and Plasmik’s "Pearls on a String," you get the sense the set was meant for the dancefloor. It’s groove-led music that’s infectious and never too obscure. The mix rises a notch with Prompt's understated "Evolve," which induces the feeling of being inside a dark, sweaty nightclub at four in the morning. Soma newcomer Decimal keeps the dancefloor vibe bubbling over with the playful electro of "Eleanor." But just when it seems the mix is about to come to the boil, the duo lower the tempo with Claude Von Stroke’s remix of "War Paint." And while Slam’s own "What’s on Your Mind" quickly resuscitates the pace, it does so only briefly. The stripped-down minimal of 2000 and One's remix of D'Julz's "Just So You Know" and Mathias Tanzmann's rework of Cle's "Nomads" sound completely out of place as the build-up to the climax. Under different circumstances, "Just So You Know" can rock the house, but this is a simple case of wrong place at the wrong time.
With the final three tracks, the mix finally edges closer to the bone-shaking techno that Slam are so revered for. Of particular note is the excellent "Flashing" by Mauro Picotto. Those who still doubt Picotto’s techno credentials should take note. That said, by the end you'll likely find yourself craving more: Sci-Fi Hi-Fi 5 feels like the first half of a two-hour Slam set.
Overall, the mix is an entertaining attempt to invigorate both minimal and Slam’s own sound. Soma fans, and techno fans in general, will not be disappointed, but it's hard to imagine many others reaching for this in twelve months. A good addition to a consistent series, but not the definitive article it could have been.
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Tracklist: Slam - Sci-Fi Hi-Fi 501. Rom1F – PI Kiss the Sky (Claro Intelecto Remix)
02. Social Material – Class (Loco Dice Mix)
03. SIS – Orgsa
04. Plasmik – Pearls on a String
05. Matthias Meyer – Tout Va Bien Butkickneu3
06. Matthias Tanzmann – Keep On
07. Anderson Noise – Londrina (Daniel Carboni and Alessio Mareu Remix)
08. Jandroide – Grande Coracion
09. Prompt – Evolve (Original Mix)
10. Decimal – Eleanor
11. Funkwerkstatt – Sputnik
12. Poxy Music – War Paint (Claude Von Stroke Mix)
13. Slam – What’s on Your Mind?
14. Danton Eeprom – Face Control
15. D’Julz – Just So You Know (2000 and One Remix)
16. Cle – Nomads (Mathias Tanzmann Remix)
17. Tigerskin – Push the Patton
18. Mauro Picotto – Flashing
19. Slam – City Destroyer
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