Robert Armani

Trancematik: The Best of Robert Armani

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The symbiotic connection between Detroit techno and Chicago house is a long-standing bond that pushed both genres forward throughout their most significant periods of growth, from the mid-'80s to the early '90s. The initial stories are often repeated; Derrick May traveling to Chicago to hear Ron Hardy play at the Music Box, at the same time loaning Phuture their first 303 machine. In fact, legend has it that the word techno was originally applied to Detroit music as an alternative to the New House Sound of Detroit tag that the U.K. record labels were content with. What is less-often discussed is the parallel developments that Chicago and Detroit artists took after the initial wave of techno and house popularity. The newer sound was harder, faster, and more stripped down than its earlier counterparts. While Detroit musicians such as Jeff Mills and Underground Resistance would toughen up the space-age dance suites of first generation techno artists Juan Atkins and Derrick May, Chicago producers like Robert Armani took the early acid sound employed by Armando and DJ Pierre and pumped it up to a barebones workout of steroid-enhanced kick-drums and sweaty electronic loops. This best-of collection covers a large amount of Armani's output, which was previously released only on vinyl. It is questionable whether Armani ever imagined that people would appreciate these DJ tools in a context other than the dancefloor. Yes, it is repetitive. Yes, it is simplistic. No, it would not be recommended for those who do not already possess a deep appreciation for hard techno music. But for everyone who has previously jacked to classics such as "Armani Tracks Part II" and "Circus Bells," this is a thoroughly enjoyable disc that makes you wish the tracks were coming out of speakers taller than yourself.

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