Dan Bell

Blip Blurp Bleep: The Music of Daniel Bell

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To haul out an overused adjective, it is nearly criminal that a compilation of Dan Bell's production work took this long to materialize. As far as crucial overviews of techno are concerned, it was almost as overdue as the Suburban Knight's My Sol Dark Direction, issued earlier in 2003. Released by France's Logistic label -- which also released Bell's second mix album, The Button Down Mind Strikes Back!, the same year -- Blip Blurp Bleep is a handy selection of some of the producer's best output, originally released between 1992 and 2001 on Accelerate, Elevate, 7th City, and Klang Elektronik (the first three of which are/were run by Bell himself). Longtime followers since the Cybersonik days will be pleased with the set's reliance on four particular DBX 12" releases that originated on Accelerate. The most infamous cut of all is 1994's "Losing Control," a jacking, dread-filled track accented by a muffled voice ("I'm losing control...I'm losing control...") and what could only resemble the sound of flesh-frying acid rain. The bulk of "Bleep" is built on little more than a tightly snapping 4/4 rhythm and adroit ripples shunted off by terse blips (not bleeps, actually). On later tracks like "Work That Shit!" and "The Wild Life," the nature of the tracks become increasingly limber while retaining precision, illustrating how minimal techno would eventually branch out into microhouse in the late '90s and early 2000s. This isn't quite a complete picture of Bell's history, but it's a rock-solid argument for his role in the development of minimal techno, not to mention his influence upon the equally pared-down yet more extroverted approach of many a microhouse producer. The only true negative aspect of the anthology is that it makes you realize how quiet Bell has been since the late '90s, which is all the more troubling when you consider how much he must have left to say.

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