Compilation Review: ‘SUB:STANCE 072008 072013’ (SUB: STANCE)



Do not call your band, album, label or product “substance” if you don’t have the goods to back it up. Snide reviewers will have a field day with readymade puns if it’s not up to the mark. For those fretting at having these frighteners put on them, this seven-track, 5th anniversary vinyl boxset has long held the upper hand. Its original concept of bringing UK bass to techno-centric Berghain means Sub:stance has never shirked from the belief of bridging the gaps of electronica under one roof.

Twists of the techno doctrine from names that sum up the veneration of the Sub:stance party, impart steely determination, an electricity in the air signalling quiet before the sky erupts, leaving breath bated before you can take one anxious gulp. Trevino’s “Tracer”, with jet engine bass ominously prepared for takeoff, sets about stomping season kicked off by Appleblim, snapping Scuba’s electro keyboard stacker “August” over its knee. SCB’s “Closer” keeps a copy of “Energy Flash” under its pillow as robo stalkers get their eye in, while John Osborn’s “All Night Long” cannot function without listening to “Voodoo Ray” before it goes about its 9-5 of synth helixes.

Addison Groove manipulates a classic hardcore vocal around stop-start bass hits to the future’s backside, and the only minor disappointment is Martyn’s tribal worker “Memory Hole”, that hints at kicking in but is more about sustenance than striking out.

File under: Pearson Sound, 2562, Shackleton