With his fresh style of funky yet subtly sedate techno, Savvas Ysatis was an important newcomer to the legendary Tresor techno label in the late '90s. Up until Ysatis' arrival, Tresor had become synonymous with the banging, hard, and minimal techno early artists such as Jeff Mills and Robert Hood had released in the early '90s. The style of techno Ysatis released as his Highrise album honestly possesses none of these characteristics. Ysatis's style needs space since it relies on a time span of several minutes for the progressive construction of its songs. What begins as a fairly simple and barely assembled collection of rhythms broadly placed along the frequency spectrum eventually concludes five to nine minutes later as a highly evolved upgraded construction with several new added rhythms and other major alterations. Along the way to the end of each song, minimal synthesizer loops fade from nowhere and join with the forward-moving group of rhythms. Like a digital snowball, each song continues to grow in terms of size and density as it moves forward, eventually towering over its beginnings. Unlike some producers, Ysatis doesn't try to continually up the tempo or increase the intensity. He instead fills in gaps with new rhythms, giving listeners even more reasons to feel the funky nature of the music. Similar to Aril Brikha's Deeparture in Time album on Transmat, DJs need to give Ysatis' music at least several minutes to reach its full potential. If one sits back and listens to the duration of these songs, the growth becomes highly evident and the most impressive quality of the songs. On the album's title track, there is a syncopated phasing human chant that cycles in a loop for the song's entire nine minutes. Along the way, the chant is accompanied by a variety of rhythms, which combine in different ways to keep the song continually progressing toward a product it will never reach. These many different syntheses occurring every minute or so are what make this an album that needs to be listened to all the way through. DJs will love the constructed techno rhythms and their sense of smoothness, but Ysatis obviously intends for listeners to leave the needle on the record as it spins from the outermost groove to the innermost.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier