Arkham Friends Part 1 + 2 by Various
Immense Techno compilation bringing together the cream of the new crop
In its first year, Belgian outlet Arkham Audio has started to build a reputation for delivering quality Techno, initially through the releases of label boss Cri Du Coeur but latterly with the help of established artists like Dave Clarke, Chris Liebing, Madben, Roman Poncet and Truncate (among others). This double album brings together 19 original tracks from 'friends' of the label, cooking with every flavour of Techno, including Drumcell, CYRK, Oliver Deutschmann and Florian Meindl.
The key to the success of a compilation like this relies on quality tracks and the order in which they are sequenced. In this case the quality rarely drops below excellent and the arrangement places contrasting styles together and the stronger tracks interspersed evenly across the two hour playing time.
On Ejected Dustin Zahn sprinkles his driving rhythms with a hint of Efdemin's Acid Bells, which works. Following directly DJ T-1000's Modulate works a tight Acid beat with a simple vocal sample (repeating the track title at regular intervals). And then, with a thundering drum pattern and an Electro topline, CYRK offer a fresh angle on Techno. Denise Rabe goes darker and mimimal while Luis Flores build tension with a circular melody. The highlight from Part 1 comes from Crashguard and Last Of The Phuture, which uses the drop to perfection. Joining a fidgety Electro loop, every type of drop is utilised: bass drum, snares, cymbals, the lot. And like Led Zeps Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, when that bass drum drops back in, it's like an adrenalin rush. I absolutely LOVE that track!
In Part 2, on Dark Factor, Zadig's kick drum pounds hard with a detuned synth and provides perfect contrast to JoeFarr's Stock Form which follows. The catchy vocal snippet combined with an addictive heading-nodding beat, working on a simple synth chord sequence makes this a standout moment. Madben takes the crown for the highlight though. A minute into Fled in Fear, like JoeFarr, a delightful melodic synth loop kicks in. It builds, distorts, disappears and drops. Sure, it's not groundbreaking but it's bloody good. Near the end Cri Du Coeur offers Twinpeak, an Acid infused monster that, around the 2:19 mark, pumps out a regular vocal exhalation like Gesaffelstein's Hate Or Glory.
Lots to love on this compilation, well worth your time.