Sven Väth: In the Mix: The Sound of the Ninth Season

Sven Väth splits In the Mix: The Sound Of The Ninth Season into “Disco” and “Invaders” discs but the release might be more accurately represented by “Tribal” and “Trance” titles. Mathew Jonson's monumental “Symphony For The Apocalypse” certainly starts the collection at a peak level. Over a ten-minute span, a seductive snake-charmer synth melody works its magic over a progressively escalating pulse until halfway through Jonson tears the roof off, clearing the way for the tune to become a squealing colossus. Following Styro 2000's clubby raver “Liver Donor” and Sasha's slinky “The Mongoose,” Ahmet Sisman's tribal-techno cut “Buiya” and Timo Maas's “Subtellite” plunge disc one into a rave-like pit where one could easily picture hordes of barely-clothed bodies writhing in ecstasy on a crowded dance floor, the air rife with sweat and sex. Though the wall-of-sound is something to behold, this part of the set goes on for a too-long twenty minutes before the brain-addling throb of Dubfire's fearsome “Terror Planet” remix of Radio Slave's “Grindhouse” takes over. With the focus more on rabid pulsation than melody, disc one stokes a pummeling, Dionysian vibe that lasts nearly eighty minutes (hear how mercilessly, for example, Cirez D's remix of Smith & Selway's “Total Departure” winds up before ceding the stage to “Trashbindance,” Väth vs Flügel's squirrelly closer).

Disc two opts for deep, even-keeled vistas of controlled grooves and electronic colourations that are obviously easier on the ears than those occupying the opening half: Anthony Collins's exhumes Laurie Anderson's “aahs” from O Superman for the propulsive flow of “Reeves”; Kollektiv Turmstrasse drapes a dark, Kraftwerkian synth theme over heaving strings and schaffel swing in “Herz Aus Holz Mix”; SIS scatters shredded voice edits across slippery minimal pulses in “Orgsa”; and Quenum and Reboot re-awaken the first half's tech-house drive in “Vault Element” and “Vandong.” “Invaders” comfortably cruises through cuts by Johnny D (“Orbitalife”), Microworld (“This Is My Friend”), and Robert Babicz (a Joris Voorn Magnolia mix of “Dark Flower”) before cresting with a galloping, flute-and-percussion-heavy makeover of Luke Solomon's “Spirits” by Prins Thomas that resurrects disc one's delirious vibe. Overall, Väth's collection is a little lean with respect to individual standouts (Mathew Jonson's opener the exception) and thus leaves more of a cumulative impression. Nevertheless, it provides a reasonably decent overview of underground electronic dance music circa 2008.

January 2009