Public Energy No.1

Speedy J

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Public Energy No.1 Review

by Sean Cooper

Speedy J's 1997 full-length release Public Energy No. 1 takes its name from one of Jochem Paap's lesser-known pseudonyms, under which he's recorded 12-inches for Plus 8 and his own Beam Me Up! label. Although not so dissimilar from the tracks he's produced under that name, Public Energy No. 1 is quite a bit different from Paap's Speedy J material, which until the record's preceding single, "Ni Go Snix," focused mostly on warm, melodic ambient techno with hardly an offending ounce in its lithe, easygoing body. Public Energy, however, is a veritable maelstrom; a mixture of brutalizing machine rhythms, odd, off-putting ambience, and distant, bassy, alien soundscapes. Hailed almost instantly (and, for once, rightfully) as one of the more important records in post-rave techno, Public Energy has all the forceful noncompromise of techno's brief cannon of classics ("Clear," "Strings of Life," "Pneuma," "Scoobs in Columbia," "Four Jazz Funk Classics," etc.), but with an intensified sense of dread and paranoia specific to its time, similar in some respects to the millennium-infused breakbeat experiments of TPower and Tricky (though undeniably techno). The album's daring is also notable given it was Paap's (at least in Europe, which constitutes his largest audience) major-label debut. Essential.

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