This global aspect retains something of dance music's initial starry-eyed optimism, of 'one world united in groove'. Pessimistically, one can lament the bland homogeneity, where slick, regimented 4/4 patterns are churned out from youth on computers flung all over the world, everyone listening to the same hip German labels, where national colour and cultural background is suspiciously absent. Nonetheless, past issues have contained consistently good formulaic dance music, and 'Interkontinental 5' is the strongest to date.
Again the newcomers, from Austria, Belgium, Germany and Sweden, make impressive debuts. Lars Wickinger has a new single 'Blutrausch' out now on Traum, which if it is anything like his track here will be one to covet. Subtle, persistant repetition, bright keys, gruff low end rumbles, 'Ghostrider' has the feel of more prescient Donnacha Costello colour series tracks - perfect early evening funk. Linus Quick's 'Tri-State' opens lightly with thin casio drums and crisp, sparse percussion before cavernous reverberations make this strict 4am material. Kenny Leaven is in similarly dour territory: 'Wasabi' pairs electro paranoia with today's intricate programming, a disorienting melodic line recalling more intelligent, less club-footed Speicher tracks. Florian Meindel gets the glitchiest with 'Don't Flue the Birds', hiccups and flickery clicks sit atop sharp string sweeps and tough drums. Gabriel Kogler's 'Romantisch im Westend' contains the muddy grit of Rechenzentrum with the unremitting pummel of Break 3000's 'Flash', and Ortin Cam's 'New Found Glory' lessens the severity slightly with dub-inflected trancey hues offering perhaps the only jubilant hands in the air moment.
Neither do the old guard rest on their laurels. Traum stalwart Adam Kroll considerably betters his recent 'Godzilla' single with the album's highlight, 'Stalker'. Recalling the luminous colours of Nathan Fake's 'Dinamo' and Thomas Fehlmann's shimmering bounce, Kroll has bright tones ricocheting all over the spectrum - it's an aural version of that bouncing ball commercial on TV. Also impressive is Jesse Somfay's 'Faberge', a bleepy, post-Detroit nocturnal number, gloomy chords foregrounding restless digital clatter. Steve Barnes as Process turns things down with 'Tendency to Synchronize', the bass drum padded in wool and cyclical synth patterns all cushioned; Nathan Fake's beatless 'Numb Chance' surpasses everything on his 'Drowning in a Sea of Love' LP, shamelessly beautiful clouds and swerving drones which could be lifted straight from a Kompakt Pop Ambient release.
There are a couple of fillers, but even these are stronger than most of what's currently out there. Mashkraft's 'White Lines in the Blue Sky' sounds like textbook Traum - everything in the right place but none too memorable, and Zentex's 'Loytovara' has fleeting guitar passages uncomfortably beside a slap-like bassline and an attractively squelchy synth melody. The mood throughout however is hard, minor-keyed, dystopian and bleak, as though the Traum has become a nightmare - but this makes perfect late night disco music. The CD, for the first time, is mixed, and includes a short, pleasant intro by Steve Barnes and a retro vocal track by label boss Triple R towards the end of the mix, but these aren't essential. The sequencing however is fautless, opening with 'Ghostrider' and concluding with Process and Fake, the mixing is seamless and unobtrusive, making this mix highly recommended. For DJs however, 3 LPs, 12 tracks of very good-to-excellent techno by artists on the pulse of the zeitgeist, this set is essential.
Mon / 1 May 2006
1. Process & Yvette Klein - All The Things
2. Lars Wickinger - Ghostrider
3. Mashkraft - White Lines In The Blue Sky
4. Jesse Somfay - Fabergé
5. Kenny Leaven - Wasabi
6. Linus Quick - Tri-State
7. Florian Meindl - Don't Flue The Birds
8. Adam Kroll - Stalker
9. Zentex - Löytötavara
10. Ortin Cam - New Found Glory
11. Gabriel Kogler - Romantisch Im Westend
12. Riley Reinhold & Emanuel Geller - Men On Earth
13. Process - Tendency To Synchronize
14. Nathan Fake - Numb Chance