VA: Era One (mixed by Noah Pred)
Thoughtless Music

Toronto's Thoughtless Music celebrates its fiftieth release with a seventy-four-minute mix by Noah Pred, the label's manager and a well-respected DJ and producer in his own right. For the project, Pred selected forty-nine tracks from the 293 built up over the label's three-year-plus run and even managed to sneak in a brand new exclusive of his own (“Unsung”) to bring the total to fifty. The first in what's intended to be an ongoing Thoughtless Era mix series (a new one'll appear at fifty-release intervals), Era One offers a fluid and relentlessly grooving set of fresh techno and house cuts that suggests Thoughtless Music's profile deserves to be higher than it currently is. Included among the producers and remixers are KiloWatts, Animaltek, Signal Deluxe, Evan Marc, Kate Simko, DJ Maus, Jay Tripwire, Falko Brocksieper, Derek Marin, Limaçon, Rennie Foster, Jeff Bennett, and others. Needless to say, the mix has its share of jacking and percussive moments (Marc Cotterell's remix of Signal Deluxe's “Replicants” one example), and there's no shortage of bass-heavy bangers, house-flavoured tracks, and feverish peak-time moments (even a few acidy ones) on offer too.

If there's one thing about the mix I would've preferred otherwise, it's how the indexing of the tracks involved is handled. Rather than separate markings for all fifty selections, they've been grouped into ten indexed tracks, with each containing anywhere from three to seven selections. That means it's difficult to identify a given track when it lands in the middle of an indexed track (unless one is familiar enough with the Thoughtless catalogue to do so), and hence difficult to discuss the release on an individual track basis; as a result, it's hard to know, for example, whether the radiant cut steamrolling through the middle of index five is Pred's “Unsung” or Ludwig Coenen's “Frontline.” But that's more a reviewer-related issue than a purely listening-based one, and the release hardly suffers with respect to the latter as a result. One thing's for sure: if Pred's fierce mix is representative of Thoughtless Music's catalogue, it's surely a high-intensity one because the mix hardly ever pauses to catch its breath (Rennie Foster's “Drifting Dub” of Pete Grove's “No Relief” and a few moments at the start of track ten the rare exceptions).

May 2011