Jan Erik Kaiser

Bis Neunzehn

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Areal's second mix/compilation, again courtesy of Jan Erik Kaiser, follows the first almost exactly a year after the fact, covering the label's tenth through 19th 12" releases -- all of which were issued between late 2002 and early 2004. With the exception of relative newcomer Remute, the cast of producers who contribute the raw materials remains the same, and the methods of those producers have hardly changed. They continue to make tracks that are more or less impossible to pigeonhole stylistically, since they combine techno and house and electro with equal love for both melody and noise. Kaiser gives a repeat performance that's on a plane equal to his work on Bis Neun, fitting all of the parts together in a manner that suits the listener regardless of setting. His ability to take such a limited number of records and form a successful set is a trick any DJ can admire, especially since he has to occasionally bounce contrasting tracks off one another without forcing the matter. The mix does get off to a slow, deliberate start, with an eight-minute extraterrestrial lullaby from Konfekt. Kaiser leaves the track untouched, allowing the sleek, menacing simmer of Remute's "Expired" -- one of the disc's top highlights -- to build its own momentum. After Ada's "Blindhouse" -- slinking neo-dub rhythms, lapping percussive effects, ear-tickling female vocal candy -- a patch of relatively aggressive tracks follow, capped off by Basteroid's furious "Against Luftwiderstand," with a fathoms-deep synth line that could've been cribbed from Alan Vega's Al Jourgensen-produced Saturn Strip. Immediately after that, Ada brings the set back down with another one of her spongy melodic gems, and the mood of the set still manages to shift again during the last several minutes. By early 2004, there were so many Germanic house labels that it was all too easy to get them crossed up, not to mention remaining on top of their releases on a weekly basis. Through a uniform graphic sense, tight quality control, and these excellent portable anthologies from Kaiser, the Areal crew has had no problem crafting and maintaining its own strong identity.

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