VA: Superlongevity 4

Overseen by Zip & Markus Nikolai, Berlin-based Perlon returns with 16 distinctive cuts for its fourth Superlongevity outing. Available in double CD or quadruple LP formats, the set rolls out the usual coterie of label stars (Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos, Soulphiction, Dandy Jack, et al.) whose material is collectively earmarked by Perlon's mercurial, house-flavoured swing. Unity doesn't preclude differences, however: Luciano's chattering machines take “Blake Purple” for an astral cruise, narrowly colliding with new Perlon recruit Stefan Goldmann's intergalaxial reverie “Darkstar” while Villalobos sounds like he's performing sucking voice tricks at the lounge bar during the shuffling acoustic swirl of “Balacharde.”

But though the collection definitely earns its recommendation, it doesn't wholly satisfy, with some pieces diminished by a lack of development. Pantytec's “Maybe Not” and Melchior Productions Ltd.'s “In The Shadow” sound great but also spin their wheels in place a tad too much (the title of the latter, for example, repeats so unvaryingly it grows tiresome). (It bears mentioning that any comment on the release—positive or negative—is qualified by the fact that the disc reviewed is a single-CD version of the release with all versions 4-minute 'promotional edits'; consequently, whether such tracks impress more in their longer form remains open to speculation.) A track like “Ixchel” by Dandy Jack And The Third Leg, on the other hand, progressively overlays a smooth pulse with squiggles and dubby noises and then vocodered chants and a jazzy synth line, and consequently proves more engaging. Sometimes, there's not necessarily traditional development yet such a wealth of mutating detail one's interest is held nonetheless (the jungle house of Cabanne's “Smiling Papers” and the smeary scuffle of Dimbiman's “First Laki”).

Unlike many compilations, some of the best cuts arrive in the late stages: Markus Nikolai's breathless vocal cut “Wheelsucker” throbs delectably (its chain sample a seeming reference to Kraftwerk's “Tour de France”), and Matt John's “Landing,” a fabulously driving groover besieged by a barrage of dubby shrapnel, and Horror Inc.'s spectral coda “The Absent” are strong too. Leave it to Narcotic Syntax (James Dean Brown and Yapacc), though, to provide the disc's most arresting moment: “Raptors Delight,” a collaboration with Misty Roses' Robert Conroy. In this captivating electro mutation, a burbling bass line slithers alongside rambunctious rhythm clatter while Conroy recounts a tale of obsessive amour fou where the speaker sadomasochistically likens himself to Prometheus (the mythological figure who, having stolen fire from the gods, was condemned by Zeus to have his regenerating liver eaten daily by an eagle for a term of 30,000 years). Conroy's lyrics are so distinctive they're worth quoting in full:

“Raptors Delight”

Why is it that I catch fire
when you are the one who has stolen the flame?
How is it that I'm chained to this mountain again?

Whom Heaven destroys it first makes crazy,
I'm crazy for lying here dying for you,
waiting for love to drop like a hawk from the blue.

Ganymede gets all my action,
the thunderbolts, Zeus' affection,
I get the back of his hand where I once tasted love.

And up above the raptors circle,
I'm manacled here to the nearness of you -
bound and shackled I dream of eagles.

Oh - and I dream of eagles
falling down through the updraft.
Oh - and I dream of eagles,
talon rampant, sharp as love.

The wrath of the gods has claws and feathers
and whether or not you believe in them still,
the falcons they marshaled are soaring and circling still.

Here in my chains where the rains stinks of brimstone,
alone naturally and unnaturally too,
I wait for the vultures to swoop like my memories of you.

Ganymede gets all my action,
all of Zeus' sweet distractions -
I passed the flame and the blame is all you left for me.

And I can see the raptors gyre,
the granite, the fire - it's worth it all still,
the blood you've spilled paints my dream of eagles.

Oh - and I dream of eagles
falling down through the updraft.
Oh - and I dream of eagles,
talons rampant, sharp as love.
Oh - and I dream of eagles
soaring upwards through the updrafts.
And I dream of eagles,
talons rampant, sharp as your love…

Your love...
Your love...
Sharp as your love.

I dream of eagles (6x)
I dream...
I dream of eagles.
I dream of eagles…

July 2006