Various Artists

Virtual Sex

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Having already been responsible for anthologies of Detroit's 430 West, Retroactive, and Transmat labels, Belgium's Buzz took a wider view for the Virtual Sex compilation, placing a number of producers from the Motor City alongside their European peers. When it was released, it functioned more like an entry route to early-'90s techno than a set of brand-new tracks for devotees. Regardless of the readily available status of most of the inclusions, the set was impressive in 1993 and remains so a decade later. One of Carl Craig's classics, "At Les," is here with Derrick May's "Icon" (as Rhythim Is Rhythim) and Stacey Pullen's "Mystical Adventures" (as Bango). Kenny Larkin's "Tedra," credited to his short-lived Lark alias, closes out the set in stultifying style and would eventually find an easier-to-access home on his Azimuth album. Each of the Europeans delivers a track that would be the center of just about any other disc. Best of all is Stefan Robbers' "Foreign Dimensions," a nearly purifying ambient track that exemplifies techno's emphasis on tearjerking strings and drum pads that seam to float, all the while carrying a deeply moving rhythm. Throw in exemplary cuts from the U.K.'s Kirk Degiorgio (As One), Matt Cogger (Neuropolitique), and B12's Steve Rutter and Michael Golding (as Redcell), and you have all the makings of a valuable early-'90s Detroit-centric techno snapshot.

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