VA: Death is Nothing to Fear 3

Kate Simko: She Said

DINTF EP gives five new Spectral Sound recruits an opportunity to showcase new and exclusive tracks. Jonas Kopp's opener “Androgeno” stokes some modestly psychotropic acid techno heat; better still are the slippery techno-funk strut of Daso + Pawas's “KKB” and the vibrant tech-house clickety-clack of Chicagoan Kate Simko's “Osci." The EP truly heats up with the arrival of Seth Troxler's aerodynamic “Muse” and its storming mix of ringing cymbals, subterranean patterns, and distorted voiceover. Not surprisingly (given that it's Kill Memory Crash in disguise), Kill contributes the EP's most ear-catching moments with the ricocheting thrash-techno of “Catch My Drip.” All told, the EP's selections constitute a good but not awe-inspiring representation of Spectral Sound.

Troxler and Simko also appear on the comparatively superior Death Is Nothing To Fear 3, the third installment in Spectral Sound's compilation series, but the EP's best cuts are the framing ones: Sami Koivikko's “Keskus” and 2AM/FM's “Motherfuckers Don't Know.” The Finland-based Koivikko contributes a slinky electro-techno bruiser that shimmies and swings royally as its wiry main melody incrementally plummets downward; in addition, croaking voice emissions and clanging keyboard accents add enticing atmosphere to the tune's slithering pulse. Haunted by spectral voices, Troxler's “Relationship” then paints a nocturnal scene that's brooding and lamp black, and Simko's “Clean Living” tidies up with a sleek bass-bouncing throb of foundsound techno-funk peppered with watery gurgle and burbling melodies. Armed with ammo-firing drum machines and flaming synth melodies, 2AM/FM (D'Marc Cantu and Tadd Mullinix) take the Trans Europe Express for a tour through Hades in their Kraftwerk-from-hell cut.

Simko's premiere Spectral Sound release allocates its A side to the eleven-minute “She Said” which slathers percussive pings, metallic wipes, and Latin bongo flourishes over a relentlessly seething, bass-throbbing skip that never loses its composure. In his makeover, Ryan Elliott smartly deepens the bass pulse and jacks up the percussive activity, resulting in an enhanced version of the original that's half the running time. The B-side's other tune, the sunnier “Soltera,” rolls out with a well-calibrated funk-house pulse that's equally jaunty and breezy. That the dubby house strutter “Dulce” is relegated to “digital exclusive” status is a bit surprising considering that its tight groove hits as hard if not slightly harder than the EP's other material

April 2008