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V/A - Immer 2

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Artist: V/A

Album: Immer 2

Label: Kompakt

Review date: Nov. 19, 2006

True to their all-encompassing name, the semi-regular Total compilations from Kompakt attempt to aggregate a year's worth of releases from this increasingly abundant fount of chrome-plated techno and its growing network of tributaries. It’s a steadily laborious task that finds the Cologne-based imprint issuing more double-CD sets to account for a bounty of vinyl sides and MP3s. Each Total is met with varied summations, speculations and, eventually, prognoses regarding the state of contemporary dance music as represented by this ever influential stakeholder. Far less habitual and pondered over, the Immer line is more about exploration (mostly of non-Kompakt material) than accumulation. It is a playful collage rather than a quasi-comprehensive report.

The second installment of this Michael Mayer-helmed series – the first dating way back to 2002 – lands with a crackling stir of bustling dust. Sean O'Neal, a veteran of Darla-distributed dream slush, spins a worn reel-to-reel that sheds flakes of crumbled titanium that form a soft-padded, fizzy flux. Ian Simmonds' "The Dog" is nervy and busier but still decidedly muted. Brushed snares and a tremulous guitar stalk spy-film strings pierced by swallowed violin shrieks. Five tracks in, with Trevor a.k.a. Pascal Schafer's "Strange Worlds," the cold front lifts. A distorted current of hot electricity is tangled in a trembling knot or unfastened for a tinny slide. Soon Justus Köhncke is peeling out for a lunar disco drive. His "Advance" puffs along weightlessly as slashes of smacked bass provide the only turbulence disturbing a zero gravity sequencer chug.

Cosmic cruising altitude is reached with a Tood Terje remix of Lindstrøm's "Another Station," a glorious swoon of laser-guided synth slither, looped piano rush, prowling plectrum-struck nickel, and wisps of reverb-stained falsetto. Next comes a brief run of Kompakt-affiliated tracks: The Rice Twins' "For Dan" has warped plumes of airy treble leading to a Marioland of bubblicious color; that’s altogether drained to cool grey outlines in SCSI 9's "Morskaya," whose moody rustle of spectral cellos, gargled frequencies and frosted pads most distinctly recalls the smoke-machine etherea and muffled elegance of the first Immer.

What remains is a wondrous excursion to bizarro regions beyond the map. Jesse Somfay borrows the weird slapped-palm rhythms of The Au Harem D'Archimede and affixes them to a jangling blue silver stream of squiggled glass and CGI vapor befitting the mystical virtual terrain of the computer game from which the track's title borrows: "Lying in a Bed of Myst." DK7, remixed by Sten, offers a low-lit yearn with scattered thwacked surfaces, ocean-floor chords and a lonesome singing voice that cleanly telegraphs the end-of-party energy lull. Geiger's "Good Evening," in the hands of SuperMayer, is over 11 minutes of sparkling bliss that closes the Immer circle by echoing the dispersed glaciers and pixel cloud-cover once traversed by album opener Sean O'Neal back when he recorded as Flowchart.

This second Immer (the name is German for "always") traces ephemeral continuums bound by textures and ideas as opposed to catalogue numbers and street dates. A library is not efficiently rearranged, it is unpacked in a daze.

By Bernardo Rondeau

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