v/a: Hot Steel (трип, 2020)

July 17, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Hot Steel

Nina Kraviz’s трип (Trip Recordings) released this compilation on Juneteenth, donating all of its sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The album stemmed from a live stream which took place in May, in which artists submitted unreleased material, of any genre. The favorite tracks were signed, and issued on this album. Detroit’s First Lady, K-HAND, starts it off with “Aquatics”, a dramatic piece which sounds like the opening scene of a seabound thriller, filled with rushing tidal water and cyclical strings. There’s no telling where the release is going to head from there. LUCKER’s “Headache vs. Corona” is a tense jumble of fuzz-saturated breaks and early ’90s house stabs, managing to dance its way out of the muddle. Locked Groove dives into deep trance territory with “Intergalactic Surfer”, setting airy arpeggios and measured strings atop cruising beats. Hieroglyphic Being works his industrial house magic with the gorgeous keys, blown-out beats, and booming vocals of “Side 2 Side (Black Hands Version)”. Gesloten Cirkel demolishes the fourth wall (and maybe some of the ceiling) on “Fairness”, starting off with a snarky observer mocking the track he’s been working on, then adopting a scary Darth Vader-type voice and proclaiming “This is the best song ever made! If you can’t hear that, there’s something wrong with you!” before launching into some unruly techno pulverizing. Just as humorous, but in a much cuter, friendlier way, is Crush Converters’ Spanish-language, pogo-worthy synth-pop ode to Nina herself. Sebastian Lopez aka Flug and Voyager Solar System provide more deep-space transmissions (with Voyager’s being a bit fuzzier and trippier), while Baxter’s two-minute “Galore” begins as solemn ambient techno and ends up hyper-detailed, frizzy IDM. “Kreatur” by m.o.d.u.l. machine is a 94-second blitzkrieg of head-bashing hardcore with a vulnerable, pitched-up voice in the center. Nina’s own “x3” is a 9-minute odyssey of bouncy beats, vocoder samples, and antsy-trancey synths. This comp hasn’t received as much attention as other recent benefit releases (probably because of the ongoing backlash against Nina), but it’s certainly worth checking out, as it’s a quality selection of creativity from around the world.

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