VA: Rekids Revolution

Staking a serious claim to a spot on textura's year-end “Best of” list is this encompassing three-disc collection from Radio Slave's Rekids imprint. Calling it Rekids Revolution might be a tad hyperbolic but, if it's not quite revolutionary, it's certainly powerful enough. What we get are an opening disc of originals, a middle set of remixes, and a concluding mix by Spencer Parker, with exclusives littered amongst familiar cuts.

Disc one features nine originals that ooze personality in spades, opens on a high with Radio Slave's “Bell Clap Dance,” a pumping, Latin-inflected techno stepper whose joyous vibe bodes well for the journey ahead. Continuing in that Latin vein is “Gemini” by Kenny Hawkes and David Parr who spice up its congas, timbales, and cowbells with a spacey synth coda that nicely lifts the otherwise earthy cut into the stratosphere. It's tough to top the spectacular barrel-house techno-funk of Mr. G's “U Askin'” which drapes soulful vocal fragments over a dynamic bass-driven pulse, though Spencer Parker's exclusive “YOGOTO” tries its best to do so with a chugging piano riff and a hammering house pulse. By adding a mournful cello to its chattering mix, Luke Solomon's “Martin, A Cello & Me” offers a refreshing respite from the opening third's techno onslaught.

Disc two's an unmixed set of remixes by top-drawer names such as Marcel Dettmann, Prins Thomas, Cristian Vogel, and others, with Radio Slave nabbing four of the nine slots. Slam Paragraph slaps “Bell Clap Dance” into snappy submission without losing any of the original's dynamism, Andomat 3000 twists Luke Solomon's “Space Invaders” into funkily motorik shape, Dubfire reworks Radio Slave's “Grindhouse” into pumping stalker-techno, and Josh Wink goes bonkers with a careening, acid-rave treatment of Radio Slave's “Screaming Hands”—all well and good though it'll come as no surprise to admirers of Prins Thomas's Full Pupp output that his jubilant, discofied reading of Luke Solomon's “Spirits”—replete with flutes and acidy synths—is the disc's pick of the litter.

In the final third, Spencer Parker whips twelve cuts (Radio Slave dominating again) into a steamy, tripped-out mix egged on by Veinte Tres's “Serpiente Cosmica” and powered by final go-rounds of “Bell Clap Dance” and “Grindhouse.” Matt O'Brien's electric head-spinner “Serotone” and Radio Slave's neon-lit synth grinder “Secret Base” leave strong impressions, as do Roman Flugel's and I:Cube's closing makeovers of Radio Slave's “My Bleep” and Toby Tobias's “The Feeling” respectively.

Caveats? A few: some of the longer tracks (a Rekids trademark it seems), such as Spencer Parker's twelve-minute “Improvised Minotaur,” wear out their welcome before they're done. Naturally, some tracks impress more than others (Dettmann's “U Askin'” remix, for example, ups the techno ante but regrettably loses the original's soulfulness in the process), and trainspotters will note that certain originals repeat across the discs (“Bell Clap Dance” three times, for instance). Nevertheless, with so much solid material included, quibbling over a track or two can't help but seem curmudgeonly, and given the sheer volume that's here, the high quality level is pretty remarkable.

May 2009