Various Artists

Sub Rosa vs. Kompakt

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If the Germans had invaded Detroit, then techno music would sound very different today. Everyone knows that. The question is, what would German/Detroit techno sound like if it were run through the blender by Belgian beat freaks? The answer, if this soundclash compilation is anything to go by, is that it would sound cool but still be pretty boring. For this album, the Brussels-based Sub Rosa label got together with Cologne-based Kompakt to present a collection of tracks from the Kompakt catalog, some of them in original form and some remixed by such Sub Rosa artists as DJ Olive, Autechre, and Scanner. The textures are all worth hearing: Freeform's remix of a piece by M. Mayer (apparently untitled -- the track listings are extremely confusing) incorporates electronic percussion that sounds like it's played on warped (and still warping) metal, while Scanner's remix of Freiland's "Reliefpfeiler Blau" employs a bass sound so low it tickles your teeth. The problem with these tracks, and the rest of the albums, is that it takes more than cool textures to make the relentless four-four Detroit house beat interesting. No matter how innovative the trappings, the musical basis for all of these tracks is the world's dullest rhythm. Fans of deep house will love this stuff, and there's no reason you couldn't dance to it. But listening music it ain't.

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