Dan Bell

The Button Down Mind Strikes Back!

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Three years after his mix for Tresor, The Button-Down Mind of Daniel Bell, the producer, DJ, and label-head also known as DBX returns with another for France's Logistic. As indicated by the title, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back! is every bit a sequel, pulled off with optimal levels in every aspect imaginable. At the time this was issued, its predecessor was continuing to build momentum as one of the best minimal house/techno sets available, and it now has a sister release that is as deceptively rounded and just plain hot -- if not more so. Again, Bell draws from a series of mostly unheralded, mostly mid-tempo productions that fall in between house and techno. Finely detailed knife-slit microbes swarm and glide throughout these taut rhythms that squelch and skitter as often as they unleash dizzying, understated textures -- all of this without any sense of clutter. Some tracks waft in with barely noticeable ease, as if they were completely weaved into the fabric of the tracks that lead and follow, while others practically arrive via springboard without being disruptive. Early on, Bell goes to familiar wells like Perlon, Playhouse, and his own 7th City, but the most dazzling section is the move from the coiled hiccup-house of Rundfunk's "Hønerytme" to the moody, cloud-cleaving broken (not broken) beat of Stephane Attias' "Distant Planet." The remaining three tracks, from Cobblestone Jazz (full of sly keyboard work, it's the most delightful pick), Anthony Shakir (dig those deep dubby tones), and Pépé Bradock (replete with swoon-worthy early-morning brass), add one exclamation point after another. In the car, on the floor, at the desk, under the sheets -- Bell has strung together another all-purpose mix that doubles as proof that some sectors of dance music are stagnant in the least.

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