Compilation Review: ‘minMAX’ (M_nus)



“Minimal aesthetic, maximal techno style” is the banner for a 24-track marathon, set to a universal throb, locking heads in a position facing south. You don’t need any more hints that Richie Hawtin’s M_nus imprint isn’t doing things by halves here. One sitting is probably too much weight to bear; pick and choose your piston-perfect procedurals instead.

Tech-house and deep techno pushing through the pain barrier so it can funk just a little, is of a full, proportioned sound, admonishing the skeletal throughout, but pushing in one direction and for the greater part, one dimension. A lot of accepted traits — particularly winding reverb and duskily filtered chord carousels — show a scientific precision, though it’s not a blanket expo for the robotic and artificial. Of course this makes the roguish inserts easier to trace, and although it doesn’t take much to jump from foundations laid by Theorem and Maxime Leffon, and sonar-powered readings clicked into place by Tripmastaz and 4Yo4u, rough-cut rolling from Gaiser’s bit between the teeth “Trashbend” and Jonni Darko striking out on “Close” become precious queue jumpers, with Joran van Pol’s “Faded” and Pots of Gold’s “Rainbows” skulking in the wings.

Lowered, dubby beats by Valentino, relying on strength and persistence rather than much method, share as much of the same family tree as Barem’s more ambient “Limbus,” underlining how a flick of the wrist divides the reticent and those going flat out.

File under: Heartthrob, Matador, Hobo