Various Artists

Snow Robots, Vol. 2

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When Toronto label Suction first reared its retro-futuristic head, it was essentially releasing the work of only two artists, with the exception of the odd David Kristian single. But by 1999, Suction had enlisted the talents of Italy's D'Arcangelo, Sweden's Pluxus, England's Brioche Kretzaal, and, of course, was still releasing titles by the label's only full-time employees, Solvent and Lowfish. Snow Robots, Vol. 2 is a brilliant collection of exclusive mutant electro-pop tracks culled from the label's 1999 catalog. In addition, it includes a great deal of beat reconstruction by the likes of Isan, Skanfrom, Perspects, and Mat-101. Vol. 2 leads off with a collaboration between label co-C.E.O. Jason Amm, aka Solvent, and Austrian producer Gerhard Potuznik, aka G.D. Luxxe, that recalls New Order or Depeche Mode, but with a much more positive charge. (Certainly, each artist affiliated with the label has, at one time or another, been influenced by at least one of the aforementioned '80s synth poppers.) While the Suction originals seem steeped in wonderful synth pop nostalgia, the remixes are the true gems of this album. Mat-101 and Perspects, especially, bring the tracks to a new level of abstract techno. And it's always a welcome addition when a remixer applies a less-is-more aesthetic to their revision, as many of Snow Robots, Vol.2's mixes do. A great combination of quirky dancefloor heaven and heady audio art.

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