Atom™: Acid Evolution 1988-2003
Logistics Records

Having issued no less than 70 albums to date under a dizzying array of pseudonyms, Uwe Schmidt returns with a sixteen-track collection purportedly tracing a fifteen-year evolution of Acid. Though the songs appear to emerge from distinct geographical and temporal contexts (DJ Marco Favati's “SP Power” from Naples, 1995 versus XOX-Crew's “606 Outburst” from Sheffield, 1993, to cite two), all 'contributors' are in fact Schmidt aliases, making Acid Evolution 1988-2003 a fascinating 76-minute project for obsessive Schmidt trainspotters.

Fifteen years supposedly separates Phresh Phantasy's opener “Come On Acid” from Takeshi Onda's “Lock It” but a musical commonality generally reigns throughout as the songs spin novel variations on the genre's template: repetitive, almost mechanical dance tracks slathered with bleeding synth patterns subtly morphed and tweaked by Schmidt. Lavished with rich instrumental detail, robotic voice snippets (like the repeated title mantra of Microsmiles' “Drugs are Right”) occasionally make connections from one song to another; the repeated 'acid' chant in MC Unknown's “Untitled” and the incessant 'stay' in Paul Vanderstukken's “Stay (Remix)” are particularly hypnotic (detractors might say mind-numbing). Subtle touches, like the flanged voice distortions in Phreak's “Acid On” and sax bleating in Plastique's “Laugh Gas ‘98,” distinguish certain songs while the vertiginous jacking rhythms and voice cut-ups of Fumes' “Jack2000” do in fact suggest Chicago circa 2000. For listeners new to the style, Acid Evolution 1988-2003 offers an appetizing introduction though aficionados of Schmidt's other work may bemoan the relative anonymity of the album's sound; predictably, as a genre exercise of sorts, it lacks the individuating character of the Geeez'n'Gosh releases, for example.

July 2005