No one can deny the fact that Tresor has been one of the most prolific breeding grounds for techno in the 1990s with not only their label but also their renowned club. Their Demo Tracks 1999 compilation reaffirms the Berlin label's role as the world's most influential record label. More than anything, this compilation showcases the fact that Tresor has more talent than they can possibly release without flooding the market. Most of the 11 featured artists on the record produce material on par with anything released by most other techno labels. But besides bragging rights and self-importance, this record seems to be an attempt by Tresor to re-establish itself as the breeding ground for techno that it once was. By the end of the 1990s, the label was more of a superstar label, featuring many more of the top producers in techno such as Surgeon and Dan Bell than up-and-coming producers. So the question must be asked: Is the techno on Demo Tracks 1999 as revolutionary as that released by the label during its groundbreaking heyday in 1992? This is a tough question to answer. Yes, the tracks are pretty amazing, slanted more towards DJ-friendly dancefloor material than relaxing home listening. Furthermore, the fact that these artists come from around the world rather than just Berlin is even more intriguing. This record definitely nullifies the myth that techno is confined to Detroit, Berlin, Cologne, and Sweden. But on the other hand, at this point in time at the end of the 1990s, it seems like listeners have heard it all. One can go from track to track, calling out the influences, which tend to be the hard style of Basic Channel, the Waveform Transmission style of Jeff Mills, and the late-'90s style of Surgeon. Yet even though these artists may not venture into unexplored territory as many of the minimal practitioners found on the primarily ambient Mille Plateaux label often do, these demos do rate high on the quality scale, standing alongside many of the best tracks by Basic Channel, Jeff Mills, and Surgeon. So search out this record in hopes of discovering the latest protégés of the dancefloor techno Gods, but don't expect anything truly revolutionary.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier