With vocal help on hand from the likes of Paris the Black Fu (Detroit Grand Pubahs), DJ Bone, Ovasoul 7 and Justin Chapman, ‘Twisted’ promises to show a more soulful side to Deetron, and while he does make a go of it, it would be naive to think that someone with a penchant for driving beats would offer up an entire album of deep, reflective grooves. No surprises then that opener 'Twisted Memories' is standard techno fare, and while DJ Bone offers vox on the haunting cyber-organ cut 'Life Soundtrack', as an album track it grows irritating three minutes into its grind. Not the best of intros then, but ‘Mr. Smooth’ (the yang to the yin of 'Miss Suave' from a couple of years back) does lift the spirit with its classic Detroit-styled signatures: sweeping Funk D’Void-like strings and chords that hint at Deetron’s potential. The flipside to this subtlety though is that it often spills over into big hands in the air moments: 'Isotope' is no bad thing if you're fond of loved-up trancier moments.
House/techno vocals are no easy task, and while Chapman’s efforts on the album never really push the right buttons, anyone with an ear for quality male vocals could be forgiven for mistaking Ovasoul 7's vocals on 'I Cling' for those of Robert Owens. Elsewhere the smoother side of Sam is revealed on 'Silence', an interesting piece with introspective piano notes and more grounded textures, while the new, improved Deetron gets an airing on 'My Plan', a jaded, jilted piece of housey doings. But this is all tossed to the side like an old rag when Paris Fu jumps onto the dancefloor with ‘The Afterlife’, an edgy, insane cut which has been getting love from Uncle Sven amongst others. The grand finale 'Chord Me' leaves us unsure of exactly what or how to feel as Geiser rounds off the album with a cut which seems to give with one hand while robbing itself with the other.
Having long since ditched the clattering tribal rhythms we knew him for, ‘Twisted’ is a bold move for Deetron, balancing vocalists with dancefloor satisfaction. No doubt influenced by the currents sweeping through dance music at present, the album is an attempt to fuse old and new influences, bridging standard loop tools with useful set material. Like Oxia or Zentz, the link between Detroit and Europe in Deetron’s music brings with it anthemic moments bound to shake a floor up, but the crossover leanings may leave discerning techno lovers a little critical.
Nevertheless, progress not perfection is a good motto for any producer, and it’s a creed that sums up this album in a nutshell.