A few tracks on Rave are named for the group's closest friends, associates and influences. There's a rumbling Mika Vainio tribute that features some of the late artist's signature sounds—serrated basslines, whining high-pitched drones—in a droning techno framework. "Herrensauna," named after a raucous gay party in Berlin, is all muscle and sinew, defaced by harsh metallic screeches. Beneath the ear-piercing sounds and fulsome low-frequencies, you can hear Hansen barking out unintelligible words, lending The Empire Line's brand of techno an angrier and more direct energy.
You have to wonder why Hansen wasn't included on all six tracks. On "Music For Catwalks," he lurks in the background—a presence that could have grounded the sonically rich but formless experiment "Mirror Ball Fantasies (For Eie)." He also might have lent the Vainio tribute more of the violence and volatility of the music it's referencing.
Hansen makes his most prominent appearance on "Fast Forward (Intet Glemt, Intet Tilgivet)," a climactic closer built from galloping beats and weepy synths. The track is stately and emotional, but with Hansen's yowling it gains an uncomfortable edge. This is the only song on Rave that truly captures the group's unique set of ideas and possibilities—the potential that comes to roaring life when they perform live. The rest is a collection of well-executed leftfield techno, but you'd be forgiven for expecting more from a group as open-minded and destructive as The Empire Line.