Peter Van Hoesen: Life Performance
Tresor Records

If fifty years from now a historian of dance music culture wanted to select one recording as somehow representative of Tresor's overall sound, said historian would do well to consider Peter Van Hoesen's Life Performance as a possible candidate. That the Belgian producer-DJ has managed to create such a definitive Tresor recording is rendered all the more impressive once one learns that the fifty-six-minute release captures a live set laid down at Tresor on July 19, 2013 as part of a specially curated Time to Express label night (for the record, Van Hoesen's label). The recording's fourteen pieces weren't simply finished tracks triggered on his laptop either; instead, Life Performance documents Van Hoesen using hardware to create a full set of in-the-moment, real-time sound sculpting. Largely eschewing samples and exploring multiple directions, he generates a constantly evolving and hypnotic flow of high-velocity techno that oozes Tresor flavour.

With relentless rhythms catapulting the listener forward and with each track flowing into the next without pause, the thunderous pace never lets up, and one pictures the clubgoers spent and breathless by the time it's done. Having laid a solid foundation in the opening three cuts, Van Hoesen veers off into trippier territory during the synth-strafed “Carbon” before unleashing hammering snare patterns and locomotive pulsations in “Challenger” and “Assembly,” respectively. Specific details differentiate the tracks from one another—whispered voice murmurings in “Deceive / Perform,” wiry acid-synth figures in “Causal Condition,” and android squelch in “Force Withdrawn,” for example—but never so much that the overall arc of the set is compromised. The recording presents a percolating swirl of synth patterns as dizzying as they are bubbly, rhythms as motorik as they are pounding, and a vibe as euphoric as it is psychedelic. One guesses that devotees of Tresor's trademark techno sound won't be disappointed.

December 2013