VA: Facticity
Infrastructure New York

Compilations may be a dime a dozen, but some are definitely better than others. Certainly Facticity impresses on a number of levels: the first label compilation from Infrastructure, co-run by Inland (Ed Davenport) and Function (Dave Sumner), the fifteen-track release meets the quota for club-ready techno tracks, but it also ventures into unusual territory. Experimental electronic music and ambient settings dot the set-list, making for a collection that keeps the listener guessing. Davenport and Sumner have also made sure the release registers as something special by issuing it as a vinyl box set housing four twelve-inch discs as well as in CD and digital formats.

The label isn't new, by the way: Infrastructure initially served as a late-‘90s outlet for material by Function and others but then went dormant in 2007 when Sumner released his first material on Sandwell District. Seven years later, Function/Inland's Odeon / Rhyl EP re-launched Infrastructure, and there's been a steady string of releases ever since.

That Facticity aspires to offer something more than one-dimensional techno is evident the moment Campbell Irvine's “Dislocation is Only the Beginning” inaugurates the collection with an experimental production that's as much electronica meditation as dancefloor workout. Pushing the agenda in a similar direction, Vatican Shadow weighs in with a hypnotic swirl of ethereal electronica (“Swords Over Paradise”) and Rrose powers “Cephalon” with an industrial-strength rumble ideally tailored to a dark underground locale.

Soon enough, the gates open and heavy artillery rolls in. Listeners with a hunger for acid-techno needn't fret, as workouts by Cassegrain & Tin Man (“Polyacid Blue”) and Inland (“Acidalia”) surface, and there are techno throwdowns, too, by the likes of Post Scriptum (the atmospheric “ISDAT” and “Donbelief”) and Steve Bicknell (the seething, hot-wired “Passage Through Darkness”). Cleric and Blue Hour bring the thunder to their respective contributions, the aptly titled “Concrete” and scalpel-sharp dynamo “Averting.” Sumner, incidentally, steps up with some solid productions of his own, the holographic banger “Low Lights & Trick Mirrors” for starters and “Colwyn Bay,” an epic, eleven-minute panorama with Inland, near set's end. A towering creation that finds the collaborators operating at a remarkably high level, “Colwyn Bay” might very well be the best thing on this consistently strong set.

May 2016