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Compilations - Issue 586

Air Texture Volume VI

Various

Air Texture Volume VI

Air Texture

Dreamy sounds
9.0
The ‘Air Texture’ series gives DJs the opportunity to curate a double CD of unreleased music with the solitary stipulation that it doesn't rely on “main room bangers”. Enlisting an eye-popping bill of contemporaries for the occasion, it’s a compilation that has the DNA of Steffi and Martyn coursing through its veins over 26 tracks. “The challenge for us was not only to bring together these producers from different genres but to make the whole thing cohesive as a listening experience,” the pair explain. Their residencies in Berlin’s most iconic clubs has inevitably established the duo as masterful selectors with ‘Air Texture Volume VI’ resembling a glorious b2b set, what with the ease in which varying genres follow each other. New tracks from Actress and Appleblim are appealing, but it’s FaltyDL’s stripped-back techno on ‘Going West’ and Synkro’s sparse opener, ‘Observatory’, that encourage repeat listening. Sidelining the club has never felt more inspired.
Anonymous
Lumière Noire Presents From Above Vol. I

Various

Lumière Noire Presents From Above Vol. I

Lumière Noire

Lighting the way
8.0
Lumière Noire isn’t much more than a year old, but the quality of the goods it’s been putting out suggests a musical edge far beyond its age, thanks to the impeccable ear of label boss and Parisian electronic voyager Chloé. ‘From Above’ celebrates the story so far, with Lumière Noire stalwarts and fresh blood contributing 13 new tracks. There’s a loose leaning towards electro (in the widest sense), but the label’s vibe is pleasingly difficult to pin down – yet the tracks here work together in harmony, despite covering a lot of different ground. At heart, it’s a superb selection of underground sounds. Many of the names will be new to most, but that’s part of the beauty; there are no expectations after reading the tracklist. Things start off deep and downtempo, with atmospheric sounds from Markus Gibb, before melting into lo-fi synth-pop from Ben Shemie (of art-rock outfit Suuns), making way for the brooding, glitchy weirdness of Dutch producer Drvg Cvltvre. Then there’s Sutja Gutierrez’s hypnotic, Depeche Mode-referencing ‘Allodoxaphobia’, a deliciously acid-infused ’80s trip from Lauer, tribal techno from Aergeworc and Franck Agrario, playful electro from Bajram Bili… And much more. A seriously strong label comp that leaves you hungry for more.
Tristan Parker
Spectral 139

Various

Spectral 139

Spectral Sound

That's the spirit
8.0
The Spectral Sound label trades more in DJ tools than its parent label Ghostly International, although they’re normally more inventive sonic screwdrivers than blunt instruments. Drawn from new and old artists and right across the house and techno spectrum and the 18 years Spectral Sound has been active in, quality is the only consistency in these eight tracks. Gunnar Haslam’s glowering acid and the moody rain-lashed techno of Earth Trax X Newborn Jr.’s ‘Paradox’ bring suspense, Russel E.L Butler’s descending bassline and D’Marc Cantu’s rolling beats add the funk, while Minimal Violence’s pounding beats give an almighty kick. Best of all are Tadd Mullinix dropping a more house-orientated remix of his new drum ’n’ bass-inspired X-Altera project under his JTC guise, and atmospheric late ‘90s gem ‘January’s End’ from Nigil Caenaan, completing a package so solid it could form the foundations of a skyscraper, let alone a DJ set.
Paul Clarke