Nina Kraviz's curatorial touch shines on this gabber-inspired compilation.
Trip specializes in druggy, hypnotic and unrelenting techno—qualities that make it ideal for big festival stages as well as dazed afterhours. For the most part, Don't Mess With Cupid focuses on the harder end of this sound. Tracks from the Russian producers Shadowax and PTU are tense and repetitive, but they're not without surprises. Shadowax's "I Want To Be A Stewardess" eventually explodes into a blitz of breaks, while the simple lead on PTU's "Castor And Pollux" keeps melting, Dali-esque, all over the track. Exos's "Grasshunter," on the other hand, is brutal minimalism with a discordant melody—a quintessential Trip tune if there ever was one.
Don't Mess With Cupid excels whenever gabber surfaces, as it does on Nikita Zabelin's edit of DEKA's "Pearl." But it's actually the older tracks that are the most radical. Aphex Twin's obscure Universal Indicator project, a collaboration with Mike Dred, is represented by a kind of acid gabber that is hyper, repetitive and single-minded. But Pilldriver—an alias of Marc Acardipane, AKA The Mover—steals the spotlight with "PitchHiker," a piece of foaming-at-the-mouth hardcore that's essentially one kick drum sent through a gauntlet of effects for five minutes.
That track epitomises Kraviz's label: intense dance music, by turns simple and creative, that undeniably works. The idea is mirrored in Kraviz's own contribution, "Opa," which ends Don't Mess With Cupid in a bonkers rush of muttered vocals, gabber kick drums and the occasional splash of acid. That one of the world's biggest techno DJs would make something like "Opa" and include it on a label compilation says a lot about Trip's fearless attitude. 20 releases in, it now has an identifiable sound, albeit one that constantly tries to slip out of your grasp. Don't Mess With Cupid is the latest stage of its evolution, taking Trip's sound to another level.
Thu / 19 Jul 2018
01. Biogen - Hexagraphic
02. PTU - Castor And Pollux
03. DEKA - Pearl (Nikita Zabelin edit)
04. Exos - Grasshunter
05. Bjarki - 3-1 Tap Lush
06. Pilldriver - PitchHiker
07. Shadowax - I Want To Be A Stewardess
08. Universal Indicator - 15 c7
09. Roma Zuckerman - Zero
10. Nina Kraviz - Opa