Metope: Kobol

Strongly emerging once again out of Kompakt's towering shadow, Areal Records follows Ada's expansive techno-pop opus Blondie with Metope's booming Kobol. There's no shortage of bruising techno splatter on display throughout label head Michael Schwanen's maximal, hour-long set. “Rebird” initiates the set with an offbeat prelude of cawing crows until smeary pulses of ringing hi-hats and buzzing burble kick the doors open. Fueled by throbbing disco bass lines, the massive “I'm So Ready” stomps with a flailing punch while the relentless kick of the tech-house groover “Nashville” hardly evokes the Grand Ole Opry. A veritable model of techno construction, the hypnotic “33” merges acidy synths, percussive slams, loud synth strafings, and ringing bells into a pumping mix.

With 'Metope' a Greek word meaning 'between the openings,' Schwanen's moniker aptly suggests the slippery way his material references styles beyond techno. A mellow vibe colours the funky electro-shimmy of “M1D1” to lovely effect while the nominal techno of “CPU-Circus” skips brightly, all the while peppered by synth glistens and arcade ammo. Two CD-only tracks offer further evidence of Schwanen's range: “Alm Realm” opts for soulful, jerky rhythms and a slightly more melancholy ambiance, and the skuzzy grinder “Tilt” unspools ominously, followed by a dramatic electro-pop coda. Though less hook-oriented than Ada's outing, Metope's Kobol impresses with its exuberant, club-ready attack.

December 2005