Various Artists

Tresor, Vol. 8

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The eighth Tresor compilation finds the Berlin label moving away from one particular sound toward a more diverse range of styles, reflecting the changing face of techno at the end of the 20th century. Perhaps the biggest surprise comes when the album begins with some down-tempo dub techno courtesy of Round Two (better known as Basic Channel) and Savvas Ysatis. This mellow pace brings a refreshing sense of serenity to the otherwise banging sound of Tresor. From there the album slowly begins to pick up pace, moving into the mid-tempo listening techno of Stewart S. Walker and Terrence Dixon. These two artists in particular present the sort of emotive songs one would expect from a less dancefloor-orientated label than Tresor. Similar to these two artists' inclusions, Drexciya's "Species of the Pod" -- the opening track from the mysterious Detroit artist's excellent Neptune's Lair album -- brings some electro flavor to the compilation, another style not often associated with the label. Aril Brikha's "Groove la Chord" then begins the album's climb towards dancefloor-orientated music, with its slowly building synth stabs. From there Tresor, Vol. 8 heads into the sort of dense, intense, and hard techno commonly associated with the time-tested Berlin label. Of these latter tracks, Claude Young's "Rise" stands out with its thick wall of buzzing static that functions as a foreboding curtain hovering in the background of the 909 kick drum-driven track. The contributions by Sender Berlin, Pacou, Diskordia, and James Ruskin all deserve recognition as well, with each heading off in a different style of techno: Basic Channel-style hallucinogenic reverb, Purpose Maker-style rhythm-dominated tribal percussion, Axis-style high-tech man versus machine warfare, and Surgeon-style pounding mesmerization, respectively.

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