Revivified around 2005 by the arrival of fresh blood from the likes of Boys Noize, Brodinski, and Kolombo, it seemed Turbo rediscovered its sense of purpose. (And seemingly reinvigorated old hands Jori Hulkkonen and Jesper Dahlbäck, who both submitted engaging releases recently on the label.) So take this two CD collection as a simple reminder of what you might have missed since Turbo found its way once again.
CD1 opens up, after a brief talkbox birthday wish from the Chromeo boys, with ZZT's "Lower State of Consciousness." Two years after its original release, the Tiga and Zombie Nation track is still an absolute Brobdingnagian sonic oddity that resembles nothing they have ever recorded on their own. Choosing to start the compilation on such a brutal, memorable note—the image of a fax machine having a nervous breakdown is apt—is a risky move, especially because nothing after it (not even "The Worm," ZZT's recent second single, or Tiga's own "Mind Dimension 2") achieves the same heavily charged assault.
Some things come close, though: Crookers' remix of Proxy's "Raven," Proxy's own take on Moby's "I Love to Move in Here" and d.i.m.'s "Sysiphos" are maximalist aesthetics-defining moments as much as Digitalism at their brutal best, while Zoo Brazil & Adam Sky's "Circle Jerk" has a welcomed early '90s feel. On the more refined side of the sonic spectrum, newcomer Mike Mind's "Acid Machine" is both, er, acidic and mechanical to great old-school effect, while Rainer Werner Bassfinder's "Minimal Scarf Fuckers Drown!" makes you want to have the ever-elusive The Dove—one of the masked producers behind it—coming out of the tech-house closet (since it seems to suit him so well).
CD2 is at once the most rewarding side of the album, but at times more frustrating as well. At least a third of the disc is composed of what seems like half-baked ideas. For instance, the much anticipated solo return of The Lord of the Synth himself, Zyntherius, is some sort of introductory skit that promises great things but doesn't allow itself to actually deliver, while Boys Noize's "Gezahlt" and DMX Krew's "Placid Acid" are childish noise-making of little consequence; Chromeo's "Mercury Tears 2," on the other hand, is a renewed take on an oldie, but again, at merely two minutes, it's way too short for it to be fully fulfilling.
Thankfully, the remaining of the showcased cast makes up for those quickly forgettable offerings: the Unit 4 remix of "Aquaplane" by Zak Frost & Lazersonic and Jori Hulkkonen's take on Chromeo's "Bonafied Lovin" are both stellar examples of sinister, atmospheric techno with a melodic twist, while Konrad Black's crafty and guileful version of "Sunglasses at Night" is a true lesson in subtlety. Meanwhile, recent entrancing moments from Mr James Barth, Guy J, Compuphonic & Kolombo and the older but classic Jesper Dahlbäck "lost" edit of Cari Lakebusch's "Shaded" close a selection that links Turbo's sometimes disordered past with its current relevance, and hints at its obviously bright near future.