VA: GPM100
Get Physical

Anyone who felt let down by Booka Shade's Movements follow-up The Sun & the Neon Light need sulk no longer. While the group is but one of the Get Physical artists featured on GPM100, its collaboration with M.A.N.D.Y., “Donut,” is one of the release's high points, and finds Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier back to doing what it does best: crafting ravishing club music that's as artful in its conception as it is irresistible in its bodily impact. It's the first of six so-called “battle” tracks assembled to celebrate the label's one-hundredth release, with Italoboyz, Nôze, Dakar, Siopis, DJ T, Thomas Schumacher, Lopazz, Heidi, Einzelkind, Meat, Patrice Bäumel, Caitlin Devlin, Djuma Soundsystem, Raz Ohara, Tiger Stripes, and Audiofly all taking part (the release comes in two formats, with six tracks spread over two 12-inch discs and three in digital form only).

The aforementioned “Donut” gets moving promisingly with an elastic house pulse but kicks sweetly into club mode when the latest in a long line of indelible Booka Shade bass lines kicks into gear. That throbbing undercurrent is just one of the track's many pleasures, with a chiming synth melodies and a dizzying breakdown two of many. Without question, GPM100's most audacious track is Italoboyz vs Nôze's “Double Trouble” which melds pounding techno and jazz into a head-spinning mix for almost nine minutes. Imagine the sound of chanting male choruses, fiery drum soloing, and the Sonny Rollins-esque wail of blustery tenor saxophone playing anchored by a thudding kick drum and you've got some idea of the tune's bravura swing. Dakar and Siopis flex their deep techno muscles during “ Dubai ” and elevate the tune with a funky bottom-feeding bass line that'd likely make Booka Shade green with envy.

What follows is nowhere near as arresting but is high quality nevertheless. DJ T. and Thomas Schumacher serve up a slippery techno workout titled­ “May Contain Nuts” that's heavy on syncopation, buildups, and jacking pulsation, while LOPAZZ and Heidi work up the tasty house swinger “Funkshovel” (replete with a male speaker's raw voiceover scattered over the tune's rollicking pulse) and Einzelkind and Meat crank shakers and ethnic percussion into the churning club-house of “Gin.” On the digital front, “Zillion Lights” sets itself apart from the other pieces by wedding a smooth and plaintive vocal turn by Raz Ohara to a crisp, electro-Italo chug by Djuma Soundsystem. Patrice Bäumel likewise bolsters the locomotive house cruise of “7 days” with a sultry vocal by Elektrochemie's Caitlin Devlin before Tiger Stripes and Audiofly take the release out on a springy note with the burbling house stabs and jacking swing of “Hundra.”

Ironically, the most pleasing thing about GPM100 is that the contributors—veterans and new recruits alike—don't get bogged down in obsessing over whether or not their productions are “art” but instead channel their energies into creating straight-up club tracks—and in so doing create masterfully artful examples of the genre.

January 2009