VA: Modeone

Moodgadget's 2006 The Rorschach Suite impressed so much, it nabbed the number ten spot on textura's year-end compilations list. Consequently, its premiere ‘techno' compilation is broached with high hopes, and the ten-track, hour-long collection doesn't disappoint. While many of Moodgadget's artists are young and not yet widely known, the caliber of work displayed here should right that wrong in short order. A few tracks toe the techno line, so to speak, but most are so strong they transcend the singular ‘techno' genre.

Tim Xavier's “Sleep Agent” gets things started on the good foot with an irresistibly grooving piece rendered most memorable by a morphing bass line that struts proudly throughout alongside atmospheric noises that drop the cut into the middle of a South American rainforest. A tune so solid would understandably prompt one to presume Xavier's been issuing material for years; significantly, Xavier's original is supplemented by two remix treatments: Minus's Tractile takes it for a psychotropically funky spin in a fabulous club version, and Dustin Zahn stokes his chugging mix into a relentlessly surging broiler punctuated by buckshot. More trance-house raver than techno, Isomer Transition's “When Systems Work Right” shimmies and shakes in gloriously dizzying manner, and, not only is Dave Turov's banger “Help” a superb exemplar of minimal sound design and arranging, its fiery mix of handclaps, syncopated swing, and soul chants is irresistible. Nominally, The Reflecting Skin's “Basic Pleasure Model” might be filed under techno, but this wholly inspired re-imagining retains only a tangential connection to the genre; howling winds blow through the song's dubby center while a persistent pulse slithers sweetly at the periphery. Capping the album gloriously, Pwca's (aka Wisp) gleaming banger “Night Vapors” so perfectly evokes the Detroit spirit, it could be taken for a Motor City homage. Fresh collections like Modeone whet one's appetite for the label's future offerings.

May 2007