VA: Tartelet ‘Contemporary'

Sometimes all a compilation needs to argue in its favour is a solid batch of tunes—something this Tartelet collection has in plentiful number. Eclectic and era-transcending, the comp's a self-professed “ode to the contemporary beat,” with nine of its ten selections produced especially for the album. But while that might be the stated intent, some tracks reference the past, others anticipate the future, and some exude a retro-future quality that, averaging out, situates them pretty close to the immediate present. Most tracks are club-directed, and many include a melodic dimension that gives them a pop edge, too. They're all in the five- to seven-minute range, which allows the dance-focused tracks sufficient room to stretch out and make their case.

In the promising opener “Elevator Fling,” Muff Deep (Emil Margetli Nyholm and Matthias Mesteno) hammers a menacing punk-funk disco vibe into position with a slinky funk groove, foreboding synths, congas, and piano as the major ingredients. Kenton Slash Demon's “Daemon” deftly bridges melodic pop and dance worlds in wedding a subtly vocodered vocal to a clubby house pulse. Samual André Madsen gives his high-energy house track “Ur Eyes” an old-school feel with a crisp arrangement dotted with analog electro-synth flourishes, claps, and a monotone robotic vocal. The most abstract or experimental piece is the one by Brandt Brauer Frick for the simple reason that “Melancholie II,” like the trio's music in general, alchemizes acoustic instrument sounds (piano, mallet instruments) into an intricate and idiosyncratic brand of techno rambunction that's like no one else's.

But sometimes the simplest approach reaps the strongest dividends, as MHM One's “Not Sure I Understand” proves in an uncluttered arrangement that sees a sleepily delivered voice sample (the title, naturally) paired with a wiry bass pattern and jacking groove. Even more potent is Acid Woman's “No Country For Old Men,” whose steamrolling house attack is as effervescent as it is soulful. Horns, piano sprinkles, and vocals add to the tune's refreshingly cool breeze, after which strong contributions from 2400 Operator (the acid-house stormer “The Feelin”), Mikkel Metal (the luscious techno dreamscape “Long Way”), and Andrea Fiorito (the bass-thundering dub-techno workout “Audio XX”) take us out. One comes away from the set thoroughly impressed by the calibre of the material and by extension impressed with Tartelet itself.

September 2012