Jeremy Caulfield: Detached Works [01]
Dumb Unit

Dumb-Unit isn't the first label name that springs to mind when the words ‘minimal techno' are uttered—Minus holds that current distinction—but Detached Works [01] goes a long way towards shifting the balance. Assembled by label head Jeremy P Caulfield, the two-disc collection weighs in at what should be an exhausting 140 minutes, yet the quality level remains so consistently high, the trip, remarkably, never feels overlong.

On disc one, the one-time Torontonian and now Berlin resident provides a status report on the label's current goings-on by pulling together tight, immaculately designed, and relentlessly grooving cuts by artists like Sweet n Candy (Rico Henschel), Bvoice & KHZ (Vasily Konstantinovsky and Egor Sukharev), and Alejandro Vivanco. Prodded by a low-end Chain Reaction flare, Butane's (Andrew Rasse) “The Gimp Can't Hunt” swings like a monster, Touane & Nuel's (Marco Tonni and Manuel Fogliata) “Peristalsi” drops seriously beautiful minimal funk, and Caulfield's multi-textured “Nude Beach” conducts a Master Class in sound design, dropouts, and tension and release.

Typically operating at a relaxed, medium-tempo gait, disc two (mixed by Caulfield on two turntables using Serato Scratch technology) burns relentlessly, its tension held taut throughout and the fire never raging out of control (though, two-thirds of the way through the set, Kai Maan and Neal White's stoked “Deli 1430” cranks up the temperature and Axel Bartsch's “Thunk” builds to periodic climaxes). The musical pleasures are many but basking in the relentless rumble of the 21 tracks' crisp beats, slippery voice edits, and rolling bass lines is perhaps the greatest. After Butane's jacking “The Girl Is Bored” ignites the set, the scenic mix rolls on through pumping visits with Italoboyz (Treibstoff), Seph (unfoundsound), Seth Troxler (Berreta Grey), Uli Kunkel (Kalamari), and others, the mix's low-end swing sometimes so hypnotic it verges on psychotropic.

April 2007