Review: Infrastructure raises the bar on Techno stratospherically

Artist: VA
Title: Facticity
Label: Infrastructure
Release: Out Now
Genre: Techno
Full album preview here.

Released on both vinyl and digital, Facticity features 15 tracks by key artists, label colleagues and new faces. Function, Inland, Campbell IrvinePost Scriptum, Cassegrain & Tin Man, Rrose, Efdemin, Vatican Shadow, Silent Servant, Blue Hour, Steve Bicknell and Cleric all feature, spinning a narrative ranging from lush, ambient electronics and post-club diversions to contemporary club techno and back again.

“The origins of this stem from taking stock on things since we relaunched the label, so to speak. The intentions were to create a compilation that read more like an album, involving not only the current core group of artists but also connecting dots between the label’s past, last year’s Berghain 07 mix, Sandwell District and our respective histories.”

INLAND AND FUNCTION DECODED

The album begins with ‘Dislocation Is Only The Beginning’ and sets the tone nicely for the compilation. A heavily delayed bell-like sequence, some airy pads and what appears to be a xylophone-like percussion fill give the track a feeling of constantly evolving before a heavily filtered kick drum works itself in gradually.

‘Swords Over Paradise’ continues in the same vein with a lovely ambient track. Heavily reverbed organs, haunting guitar-like riffs and subtle bassline throughout could easily engross you in a trance like state.  A beautiful piece of music I have to say. ‘Cephalon’ moves things along to a faster bpm and more industrial/metallic like elements, with a heavy and more pronounced dub techno kick drum and lazar sound dropping waving in and out.

The end of this first record takes us back into dance floor territory courtesy of Cassegrain & Tin Man with their track ‘Polyacid Blue’. An interesting acidic bass modulates through distorted like toms. A simple track. The end of this first record takes us back into dance floor territory courtesy of Cassegrain & Tin Man with their track ‘Polyacid Blue’. An interesting acidic bass modulates through distorted toms. A simple track that sounds like the infamous Roland 303 and 909 have been the foundation for the drums and percussion.

Steve Bicknell Press Pic

Up next is Inland aka Ed Davenport and for those who don’t know, he co-owns the label with David Sumner (Function). ‘Acidalia’ does what its name suggests. Offering a heavily filtered 4/4 beats with more eerie haunting organs, a theme which seems to be running throughout this collection. ‘ISDAT’ continues along the club tracks flow. Thunderous kicks with futuristic textures and heavily EQ’d vocals give a very cool almost sci-fi feel. Could see a mad scientist in a lab working to this, very cool indeed.

Next up Steve Birknell a respected UK producer in his own right, who comes in with probably the heaviest track on the album ‘Passage Through Darkness’. A relentless broody low end and modular sounding components give a warehouse groove to this peak time monster.

Mancunian producer Cleric, who has gone from strength to strength in the last few years. He steps up with his signature sounding heavy kick style production. His tracks are always driving and have been causing damage to dance floors everywhere and this track ‘Concrete’ is no different. Ruthless from start to finish with its splashy percussion abrasive high-end finishes off the second record very nicely.

Vatican Shadow & Campbell Irvine DECODED

Berlin-based Blue Hour takes the ‘E’ side off to with his no frills high energy techno. Having discovered him last year, he has taken me back to the high energy style that got me into the genre back in the late 90’s. Choppy percussive grooves and intermittent ride sequences working with rolling kick and bass, go down a treat and his track ‘Averting’ is no different. Old school ravey techno personified.

On the same side is the Berghain resident and as previously mentioned co-owner Function. ‘Low Lights & Trick Mirrors’ is an intriguing number from the American artist. The track brings us back down with but keeping with his strong affiliations to the 909, the percussion, I would guess again comes from the legendary box. What seems like a heavily flanged snare roll moving in and between the melodic parts and reverbed clap works along nicely.

On the flip side, we have like his predecessor another Ostgut Ton artist in Efdemin. This would fit nicely in a techno DJs bag as it offers as a nice transitional track whether warming up or down. More zany piano roll sequences here and tech hats and shakers. Fits in nicely with the overall vibe of the album with more haunting FX making appearances throughout.

‘Donbelief’ finishes the 3rd record and is the last 4/4 track on the album. This too, like the last track, could work with both scenarios for a DJ. A subtle kick and bass are accompanied with by a sexy female vocal with what seems like a tuned down tom working off each other. The splashy ride and shakers drive the groove throughout the track.

CLERIC & BLUE HOUR DECODED

As with the first record the fourth one comes back with more experimental music. For their second production on the compilation, Cassegrain & Tin Man offer us ‘Open Sea’. Unlike their previous track, this one takes a more chilled out direction with filtered kick drums sounding almost like a heartbeat. Some rather strange trippy pianos and reverbed effects duck in and out along with an autopanned percussive element.

Finally on the last side ‘H’ the labels owners Function and Inland, do a fantastic dub techno track called Colwyn Bay. Using glorious atmospheric textures the track is massively uplifting and would highly recommend for the dub enthusiasts out there. This is my favourite non-club orientated track on the album. It’s got a sunrise vibe about it, perfect for the later sets at festivals and clubs. Finally last but not least is Silent Servants ‘End / Optimism’. This is a two-minute piece of various soundscapes and distorted vocal and would provide a nice intro/outro for a set.

I have to say this album has been very interesting indeed. It offers a nice balance of both dance to and chill to productions and summarises perfectly what the Infrastructure label is about. There have been some intriguing sound design within some tracks ranging from mentioned sci-fi to haunting and maybe even Gothic like tones in most tracks. Facticity is A 4 x 12” vinyl set, CD and digital format compilation and is currently out.

Cassegrain & Tin Man DECODED


About the author

Irish lad and techno producer, Mick works extensively in client database design, management and business development.

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