VA: Token Introspective mixed by Kr!z

Founded in 2007 by Kr!z, the Gent, Belgium-based Token is a pure techno label with a distinct sound and vision, and its new compilation mix presents it as a well-oiled machine burning on all cylinders. Hard-edged techno is the style, with marquee names like Xhin, Inigo Kennedy, and Phase along for the ride and remixers like Surgeon, James Ruskin, and Ben Klock contributing, too. It's a quality collection on a number of fronts. In addition to the strong lineup, the mix is also the result of a selection process that saw Kr!Z whittle more than a hundred productions down to the twenty-one featured on the seventy-eight-minute release.

The mix undergoes multiple twists and turns as it powers its way through Xhin's scene-setter “Elliptic,” a Ben Klock rework of Phase's “Binary Opposition,” and a James Ruskin mix of Dimitri Andreas's “Tiger,” rarely stopping to catch its breath as it settles into position. A pounding 4/4 pulse locks in from the outset and pretty much stays in place throughout, even if the dizzying swirl above it undergoes constant mutation. Inigo Kennedy, the first artist to issue material on Token, brings the thunder a number of times, from the rampaging “The Map” and tripped-out “Bite Back” to the seething “The Shard” and dreamy closer “Obsidian.”

Though the quality level is consistently high, certain tracks stand out, including steamrollers by Rødhåd (“Spomeniks”), Go Hiyama (“Fallingwater”), Mark Broom (“Two”), and Phase (“Decode,” “The Chasedown”)—raw, clockwork techno at its finest. Xhin's “Hunters” brings to the mix a future-techno flavour characteristic of his Stroboscopic Artefacts output, and it's also fitting that Surgeon's on hand for a remix (Grovskopa's surprisingly funky “Sex and Violins”), given how seamlessly his own scalpel-sharp style dovetails with Token's. And don't be thrown by the release title, either— though the Rilke quote on the inner sleeve (“The only journey is the one within”) provides clarification, Kr!Z's hellacious mix is hardly introspective in the normal sense of the word.

July 2013