Claro Intelecto: Warehouse Sessions
Modern Love

If you missed out on the five Warehouse Sessions 12-inch discs Claro Intelecto (real name Mark Stewart) issued during the past two years, you're in luck ‘cos they've just been compiled onto a sixty-five-minute CD. Though the tracks are sequenced chronologically (according to Stewart, the CD's sequencing was a consideration in the way the vinyl tracks were ordered from the outset), the compilation doesn't just gather previously-issued material onto a single release: the tracks have been newly mastered at Berlin's Dubplates & Mastering studio, plus a previously unreleased track (“W6”) has been added.

The skeletal bottom-feeder “Thieves” gets things off on the good foot with a throbbing bass undertow and fleet-footed hi-hats, after which “New Dawn” weds its thrusting techno pulse to a prototypically spidery and kinetic Monolake-styled pattern. The mighty future-funk of “Trial and Error” marks a dramatic stylistic shift away from the hammering techno of the opening cuts, a move that proves only temporary when “Signals” couples its menacing synth tones with a chugging pulse. “X” catches your attention with a pumping dance groove boosted by gunshot snares and a thudding kick drum but the ante's upped even more when, halfway through, metallic squelches sweep violently across the pummeling base. An apparent homage to Mr Fingers, “Only Yesterday” rolls out a hyperactive bass line that Stewart augments ever so subtly with shimmering hi-hats and a scattering of melodic fragments. The collection isn't without a restrained moment or two, with the sleek and serene “Post” proving to be the most obvious example when it cruises through a gleaming twilight metropolis, its groove caressed by dubby chords and jazzy piano flourishes. A peak of sorts arrives with “Hunt You Down,” a ten-minute colossus that begins unassumingly enough but eventually swells into a jacking Goliath battered by all manner of metallic shards and dubby chords. The release is capped by the newly-added “W6” which, not surprisingly, strays little from the established template. The collection's a fine complement to last year's Metanarrative release, despite the fact that the Warehouse Sessions' stripped-down machine techno is almost diametrically opposed to the earlier release's melodic and lush style.

March 2009