Various Artists

Superlongevity 3

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This might be baffling for those who don't gobble up every single Perlon 12" release: as a representation of one the most prominent microhouse labels in CD form, Superlongevity Three follows Zip's Superlongevity mix. So where's Superlongevity 2? Well, that track-in-whole compilation only came out on vinyl -- as did the first true volume of Superlongevity. Superlongevity Three isn't another mix; instead, it compiles 13 previously unreleased tracks, many of which surpass what the label put out throughout 2002 and 2003, a two-year period that involved a minor downward plunge in Perlon's nearly faultless track record. Although 2003 singles from Jabberjaw, Luciano with Mathew Jonson, and Dimbiman stood with the label's best, the following back-to-back releases from Morane and Phil Parnell were alarmingly mediocre, easily the rock-bottom worst in the discography. Thankfully, the number of durable entries here steers everything back into the right direction; furthermore, they don't rely on the same set of tricks that ran the risk of getting old with the most ardent followers -- and at the same time, there's no identity crisis. These producers still sound like they belong with one another on Perlon, with those jittery tremors and semi-comical hiccups playing less of a role in favor a more spacious, less nervous sound. The only aspect that remains throughout is the levity of the rhythms. STL's plinking and plonking "Strains of Nowhere" is a bigger ripoff of Theo Parrish's raw Chicago-Detroit house sound than anything produced by Dial's Lawrence, which is saying a lot -- grubby thunks and dull thwacks substituting for hi-hats run for the micro-fitted duration, with a heavily treated keyboard figure far off in the distance. "Alsbalduin" continues Ricardo Villalobos' 2003 hot streak, with another mesmeric set of rippling patterns and snaking twists. Horror Inc.'s (aka Akufen) typically slippery "A Dream Within a Dream" isn't nearly as creepy as his earlier 12" for Revolver, but it's still bewitchingly downcast in relation to his My Way-era material. Best of all is the closing track -- an orgy of pattering percussion and squelchy effects, kicked out by Villalobos and Luciano (as Sense Club), that has to be heard to be believed.

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