2013 Top 10s & 20s
The Knells' The Knells
Spotlight 11

John Luther Adams
Astro Sonic
Mark Cetilia
Ulises Conti
Stephen Cornford
Exercise One
Stavros Gasparatos
Rael Jones
The Knells
Lord Echo
Selaxon Lutberg
Martin & Berg
Josh Mason
Ron Morelli
One Far West
Orange Yellow Red
Piano Interrupted
Oleg Poliakov
Saffronkeira + Massa
Scarlet Youth
Burkhard Stangl
Peter Van Hoesen
Vatican Shadow

Compilations / Mixes
EPM Selected Vol. 2
My Love For You Is Analog.
OFF To ADE 2013
Tempo Dreams Vol. 2
Transit 2

EPs / Cassettes / Singles
Fighting Lion
Kyle Fosburgh
Fre4knc / Nuage
Rezo Glonti
Ishan Sound
Pennygiles & Phil Tangent
Dominic Petrie
Sontag Shogun
Thrash Pilot

VA: EPM Selected Vol. 2

The key that opens EPM's second label compilation is that its focus is on the imprint's techno side in contrast to the first collection's house emphasis. With more than thirty releases to its name, the label has lots to draw from, including recent long-players by Paul Mac, Kristian Heikkila, and The Third Man. Some of its ten tracks therefore will be familiar to EPM devotees, though two exclusives, specifically cuts by Inigo Kennedy and BPMF, have been included to enhance the release's appeal.

Furthermore, the set enables the listener to hear tracks previously heard in the context of an artist album (such as Paul Mac's “Old” from Hotel Insomnia and The Third Man's “Sleep It Off” from Beyond The Heliosphere) in a different way that allows for comparison and for them to be heard anew. It must needs be said, too, that not all of the material is recent: Kennedy's “Interaction,” for example, originally appeared on EPM co-founder Oliver Way's Morpheus Productions label thirteen years ago while BPMF's “T.I.T.S.—This Is Techno Soul” actually hails from 1996. Were anyone to require assistance in determining the album's tone (not that it's likely), the cover image makes it crystal clear.

That the focus is on techno is made clear by a high-spirited opener, Heikkila's “We Want Techno,” that delivers its message with a vehemence so forceful it verges on hilarious. Hearing Infy spitting out “We want it intense, we want it unclean, filthy, grimey, polluted…” calls to mind the image of an out-of-control four-year-old in the middle of a temper tantrum, and hearing a crew echoing Infy's lines with as much conviction makes the track all the more fun. Infy aside, the track's a techno stormer that sets the stage for what comes after (including Heikkila's other outing “Acid Spore”).

Not surprisingly, the spirit of Detroit techno looms large over many tracks. It's present in Orlando Voorn's “Wiggle,” which more than lives up to its title; James Ruskin's industrial-funk makeover of Lee J. Malcolm's “One Star / Applicant,” where grime-laden waves of metronomic beats crest; and Carl Taylor's “Perplexer,” whose earthy future-swing receives a tribal injection through the addition of pounding percussion. Showing absolutely no signs of rust and wear, Kennedy's “Interaction” interlaces a chiming synth hook in amongst chunky stabs and driving pulses, while BPMF's dizzying, industrial-strength powerhouse “T.I.T.S.—This Is Techno Soul” clears away every possible cobweb.

Truth be told, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Detroit techno's spirit is present in all of the tracks to varying degrees—how could it be otherwise when it's such an inextricable part of the music's foundation? Every one of the compilation's roaring tunes exemplifies the kind of sleek, precision-tooled drive that we've come to associate with the long-standing genre.

December 2013