Various Artists

Snow Robots, Vol. 1

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Toronto's Jason Amm, aka Solvent, and Gregory de Rocher, aka Lowfish, undoubtedly spent a lot of their formative years in their bedrooms, squirrelled away between Human League and Cabaret Voltaire records and odd electronic instruments purchased at neighborhood junk shops. Their time there definitely paid off, and four years after launching the Suction record label Amm and de Rocher commemorated their early releases with Snow Robots, Vol. 1. The album compiles Solvent and Lowfish's first two vinyl-only releases, highlighting what they call the label's "distortion pedal new wave beginnings." The record also includes pre-Suction material recorded by de Rocher under the Pest(e) moniker, as well as a pair of exclusive tracks from Montreal blipmaker David Kristian. To round out the record, the two slide in a pair of remixes from Detroit's Adult. and Germany's Lali Puna. Snow Robots, Vol. 1 works as a greatest hits record for a label that is very anti-hit-making in its aesthetic. It falls somewhere between the dancefloor and the art gallery as it does still maintain a beat-driven focus. The tracks on Vol. 1 are not quite as abstract as fellow intelligent dance music enthusiasts Autechre or Richard Devine, but are abstract enough to not fall into the traditional techno formula. And the strong rhythmic interplay of Casiotone blurps, cheap drum boxes, and sampling technology make for a record that is both cerebral and sophisticated.

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