VA: Spargel Trax Vol. 3
Don't Be Afraid

VA: Spargel Trax Vol. 4
Don't Be Afraid

The very idea of naming a series after a vegetable, specifically asparagus (green and, in continental northwestern Europe, almost exclusively white), hints at the irreverent spirit of the Spargel Trax project. Released on twelve-inch vinyl only (yellow and purple) in a run of 280 hand-numbered copies, these third and fourth volumes serve up eight choice cuts dished out in two tracks per side. A scan of the names involved mightn't reveal much, given that the contributors involved—Mr. G, Scott Fraser, Disco Nihilist, Maarten Van Der Vleuten, and Andy Blake among them—appear under spargel-related pseudonyms for the release, but no matter: it's all about the music anyway, and the tunes on offer are a well-seasoned bunch. In simplest terms, the volumes add up to fifty minutes of electronic house and techno bangers sprinkled with lush pads, wiry bass lines, swizzling grooves, and an occasional sample or two. There's beats aplenty but also a generous range of moods and intensity levels, with some tracks geared for the club and others the morning after.

Not surprisingly, the thing one remembers most about volume three's “All Fucking Night” is the drawled title, which Shwet Musali drapes repeatedly across a bubbly backdrop. In addition, Lily's subdued funk-house workout “Tiwa” skips determinedly through a thick field of crackle and dust, No Photosynthesis catches one's ears with the punchy jam “Just Wanna,” and Jon Alcindor drenches the electro-fied shuffler “Perrennial Greens” in cross-currents of hi-hats and lowslung bass. Volume four includes a jaunty, light-hearted stroller (Club Paranoia's “The Cabinet Maker”), hard-wired electro banger (Slazenger's People's “Britney's Spear”), and piano- and synths-heavy house shuffler (Freeman's “Dariana”). But for the pièce de résistance, proceed directly to the disc's opener, “Bitten,” an instant classic by 48V Spargel Brothers that jacks up its funky house bounce with claps, cowbells, clavinets, and wild diva exhortations (“It made me crazy”).

June 2013