I.A. Bericochea: Sueño

Panoptica: Ahora Yo a Ti
Nacional Records

There's no question the Basic Channel-Chain Reaction spirit is alive and well on I.A. Bericochea's forty-minute Sueño, the Madrid-based producer's follow-up to his 2003 Minus release Rojo. 'Sueño' means 'dream' in Spanish and there's certainly a spectral quality to the material, plus it's mastered, fittingly enough, by the deep dubmeister himself, Stefan Betke. Often sounding as if it was recorded in a hollow chamber, Bericochea's minimal techno manages to sound both skeletal and full, as showers of cymbal patterns, groaning bass lines, echoing reverberations, and skipping pulses come to the fore and then recede. The fourth piece comes closest to the BC-CR sound, with Bericochea sprinkling spindly tendrils of percolating crackle and dubby washes over a thudding groove. A shame, though, that he doesn't extend the template beyond the work already done by Substance, Porter Ricks, Maurizio, et al.

Robert Mendoza, by comparison, brings a strong individuating slant to his Panoptica sound. What distinguishes Ahora Yo a Ti, a collection of remixes done for fellow Nortec Collective members as well as Her Space Holiday, David J. (Bauhaus, Love & Rockets), Calexico, and others, is Mendoza's Nortec (Norteno-Techno) style which merges electronic styles with traditional Mexican music (heard most clearly on the grooving remix of Calexico's “Guero Canelo”); check out the veritable Latin percussion army (timbales, shakers, cymbals, cowbell, guiro), for instance, that powers the driving techno of Bostich's “Autobanda.” Whether the focus is tech-house or microhouse, the Panoptica sound is richly detailed, warm, and melodic (Mendoza's “Ojas Bonitos,” Clorofila's “Almada,” Tre/molo's “El Ya Sabia,” Trio Ternura's “Reloj”), sometimes dub-oriented (the lush take on Her Space Holiday's “Lydia”), and, yes, entirely Goth-free in the percolating tech-house treatment of David J.'s “Mexican Drugstore.”

January 2006