Sven Väth / Various : Retrospective 1990-1997 / Sven Väth In The Mix - The Sound Of The

This is techno to the very depth of its barren machine soul.

For some, the vagaries of dancefloor fashion matter not a jot. Frankfurt's Sven Väth started spinning proto-techno in German clubs way back in 1982, and ever since, the pursuit of dancefloor excelsis has been something of a life quest. Not an especially credible one, mind: throughout the '80s, Väth was the frontman for pretentious techno mystics Off - an early precursor to Snap, later of 'The Power' infamy. But you can stop that sniggering at the back. Now, at a wise 36, Väth's passion is getting leaner, meaner, and altogether uncleaner.

First, though, 'Retrospective 1990-1997' - a recap of the hits, remixes, and side-projects of the last decade, hand-picked by the man himself. Essentially, it's a pleasing, if unchallenging selection of identikit techno, although only the odd wild card - see the Underworld remix of 'Harlequin - The Beauty And The Beast' - salvages it from being much more than robotic ear-candy. 6/10

'Sven Väth In The Mix', meanwhile, boasts a more artificially intelligent selection, plucking the sweaty buzz of the Summer of 2000 direct from Ibizan superclub Amnesia's celebrated tech-night, the Cocoon Club. Insistent jackhammer Euro-beats, hurtling filters, and the crackle of circuit-burning vocoder - this is techno to the very depth of its barren machine soul. Nothing to

do with fashion, obviously. But someone must keep those boggle-eyed German mentalists happy,

and this is an admirably brutal solution. 8/10

Louis Pattison

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