A compilation that explores hypnotic techno with mixed results.
Various - Submerged World
Compilation EPs can be tricky. The best showcase a group of artists in top form. Then there are records that end up flat and repetitive, with tracks that stand out only in a skilled DJ's hands. Submerged World sits somewhere in the middle. It's the first compilation 12-inch on Substrato, a techno label founded by the Italian artist Buck. It collects tunes from a couple of Buck's fellow Italians on the A-side, and two Swedish producers on the B-side. In this matchup, the Swedes are the winners. Evigt Mörker dials in voodoo ambience and some refreshing artistic indulgence on "Dödligt Sår," a throbbing halftime cut with steamy organic textures and a twilit drone. Acronym's bassline-driven "The Permafrost Melt" is a widescreen affair, brimming with light-as-air pads and bright melodic beeps.
Neel, who also mastered the release, and Retina.it are less adventurous. Neel's "Fumana" adheres to the hypnotic, lost-in-a-forest sound he's helped define in recent years, but unlike Mörker's effort, it does little to build on a niche that sometimes feels like it's stagnating. Retina.it, who put together a mind-bending EP for Substrato last year, offer a middling slice of dark, droning techno with "A Spiral Ladder." Their tracks aren't complete throwaways, but we've come to expect more from these two acts.
Mon / 6
A1 Neel - Fumana
A2 Retina.it - A Spiral Ladder
B1 Acronym - The Permafrost Melt
B2 Evigt Morker - Dodligt Sar