The CD version's 15 cuts underscore the often mysterious, esoteric quality to early house recordings. They exude a visceral and exploratory aura, sounding very much like strange machines being played in private, while their operators test out new approaches to music production, working without blueprints because there's nobody to imitate yet. The cuts have a raw, underground quality that lands them somewhere between Larry Heard and Suicide. A few of them still feel like the unfinished demos that they are, and are primarily of historical interest, especially the opening handful, which tend to meander. That said, if you have a fetish for the warbly, alchemical sounds of analog synthesis, there's probably little here that you would pass by.
Things get fully underway with "Crayon Box," which offers a rockish, macho stomp—double-fast hi-hats, whistle-pitched synth squelch—which evokes the smell of sweat on the dance floor, booze-stained bathrooms, faces of beautiful strangers in neon chiaroscuro. Experimental flourishes abound, like the wild, churning choo-choo filter on "Moskaw," which gives the tune a science fictive air. It's a bit of a Kraftwerkian moment, as are the computer-like emanations on "Boing." The spirits of German electronic experimentalism are evident as well on "The Mop," with its expansive, Krautrockish bliss. Finally the duo's playing chops are on full display on "I Have Always Wanted," a live-sounding jam dense with interlaced keyboard layers, sharp organ bursts and relentless cowbell.
Feverish and edgy, "It's a Crime" oozes urban paranoia, with half-rapped vocals like "people hungry, momma's dying" an heir to the sort of gritty, unhinged soul unleashed by Sly Stone when he recorded There's a Riot Goin' On in a mobile home in Los Angeles because he thought the FBI was tailing him. It's the duo's lone foray into something like social commentary, and the dystopic imagery coupled with claustrophobic beats and rich synth stabs make the tune an album highlight. The vocal refrain couples the song title with the proclamation "gotta go underground...," which brings to mind the need to beat a retreat from the bleakness of the surface world, perhaps to the basement, where creative hunger and a desire to escape find a home in analog circuitry and the rush of repetitive sound.