Of all things retro that are coming back in style, the one I welcome most is DJs being given more time and more room to breathe within their sets. As someone who learned her craft in Ye Old Midwest Rave Days, I was initially trained in one hour sets, two at the most. I watched as people begin to splinter into ever smaller specialties of sub-subgenres within subgenres, and the umbrella sound of Techno and House Music became ever more fractured, even as it grew.
These days, we’re going back to something closer to the early days of the DJ, with maybe only one or two DJs spread across an entire evening. This means that one needs a wide range of sounds to play with. It means spending a lot more time searching and a lot more money on music. And so when you run across a record that can wiggle around in a space between sounds, and make you wiggle just as much, that’s a score on multiple levels.
With two previous releases under its belt, Tim Xavier’s Face To Face Recordings has delivered techno with an undeniable bottom end bump for darker dancefloors unafraid to shake it wildly. With the latest compilation, the overall sound is a bit more insistent while retaining the warmth and movement that is fast becoming the label’s signature.
Jamaica Suk starts things off on a high note with the title track “Qurated.” The tom drums drive the main beat with a spacious arrangement of laid-back squashed stabs providing a delicious tension. The Echoplex remix of “Qurated” straightens out the beats a little too much, stripping the song of its tension and flattening it out.
Lando brings back the tension and a bit of spaced out thump on “Geometry.” Minimally constructed, its driving kick/tom/bass provides a foundation as thick as concrete while off-time plucked synth bits and various bits of noise give it an appealing rhythmic dissonance.
The hammer drops with Forest People’s straightforward stomper “Obscure C”, balancing an overdriven kick drum with a tight piano stab and a repetitive vocal grab to keep it simple and pounding. Label head Xavier’s “Next Chapter” reins it back in with an arpeggiated metallic bell groove that rides in and out of the whole track.