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Compilations - Issue 599

Patrick Cowley - Mechanical Fantasy Box

Patrick Cowley

Mechanical Fantasy Box

Dark Entries
9.5
Dark Entries has done it again, with an informative and fantastic release exploring Hi-NRG pioneer Patrick Cowley’s musical career. Thirteen previously unreleased tracks from 1973-1980 explore different sides to the artist’s songwriting and production; they range from funk-flecked disco to ambient soundtrack pieces, with psychedelic and kraut influences that bring to mind Isao Tomita and Kraftwerk. These experimental electronic music legends might not be the first thing one thinks of when they look back on Cowley’s big singles, like Sylvester’s ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ and ‘Do You Wanna Funk’. That’s why this box set – with its impressive liner notes, full of history and excerpts released from Cowley’s homoerotic journal of the same name – is so necessary, shining more light on what an innovator Patrick Cowley was. For someone mostly just familiar with his hits, ‘Mechanical Fantasy Box’ is a complete eye-opener, especially during its stunning cinematic instrumentals. Reading through the liner notes about how he composed these – before proper drum machines and programmable, polyphonic digital synthesis existed – is truly astonishing. For someone more familiar with Cowley’s wide-ranging oeuvre, these previously unreleased tracks and their meticulous remixing and remastering are still an absolute treat. It’s also worth noting that proceeds from this release will be going towards the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, as Cowley tragically passed from AIDS-related illness in 1982, at just 32-years-old.
Zara Wladawsky
Sound Pellegrino - Decennium

Various Artists

Decennium

Sound Pellegrino

Technicolour rave beats
8.0
An intuition for young producers, an ability to share experiences, and building a family of artists who’ve since branched out – “these are the things we are most proud of,” says Sound Pellegrino co-founder Teki Latex. To mark their 10th birthday, the label he co-founded with fellow Parisian producer Orgasmic drops this meticulously crafted dive into its catalogue, liberally skimming territory from house and techno to hip-hop-inspired bass, and doing well to showcase some of the talent that they gave that all-important first break to. A 2009 track shows Renaissance Man – now known as Amnesia Scanner – utilizing voices like robotic synth leads. A searing, bass-heavy Kowton remix documents his 2012 tipping point between dubstep and techno. Above all, though, it’s a joyous 100 minutes with the label, best exemplified by the co-founders own contributions, which buzz with technicolor keyboards and handclaps.
Tristan Bath
Claro Intelecto - In Vitro

Claro Intelecto

In Vitro

Delsin

Mind power
8.0
Manchester producer Claro Intelecto has garnered a considerable reputation on the techno underground for his subterranean excursions into an array of dancefloor genres. Since 2003, he’s released a large body of work, and ‘In Vitro’ (available in two volumes) aims to collect it for the first time and offer a way in for those not yet acquainted with his enthralling sound. Claro Intelecto’s first release, ‘Peace Of Mind (Electrosoul)’ is a neat encapsulation of his music: cascading bells and chords bolt onto a tough electro-funk carriage, indicating his ability to combine emotional substance with club nous. Then there’s the six-leagues-deep techno of ‘It’s Getting Late’, all FM synth bass and pads that enshroud the listener. Meanwhile, the all-out acid electro fusillade of ‘Tone’ shows that it’s not all tastefulness around these parts. ‘In Vitro’ is a brilliant primer.
Ben Murphy