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V/A - Coming Closer

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Artist: V/A

Album: Coming Closer

Label: Punkt Music

Review date: Mar. 31, 2002

With only 10 releases under its belt, Germany's Punkt Music is one of the newest labels in electronic music. The Coming Closer compilation draws on eight artists from its roster, yielding ten straightforward, generally mellow housey tracks best suited for marinating in one's own sweat on a couch after a long night of clubbing or driving around nighttime Tokyo in a souped-up Civic. There is nothing here that is groundbreaking or radically different from anything else you may have heard on the market but the competence, and occasional brilliance, of the artists points to promising, if vague, readings from the Magic 8 Ball in regards to Punkt's future.

Kicking things off with "Prosthetic Limps," Sweden's own Dribs pushes a snappy, synth-based 2-step breakbeat gently to a pleasing, understated apex. Filled, but not overloaded, with lush analog themes, the result is never hurried and is reminiscent of something off of the Aphex Twin's "Selected Ambient Works 85-92." The loudest and toughest to grasp track on Coming Closer comes next with Holger Flinsch's "Election Day." It's hard house and it sounds out of place. Skip this one and move onto Dub Taylor's "Summer Rainbow," which shows initial promise with a pleasantly gloomy female vocal sample but unfortunately gets bogged down in too-loud high ends that monopolize everything else. The owners of Punkt Music, Peter Armster and Andreas Mügge, team up to become the Lazy Boned Brothers and come very nicely with the solid "Zirkulin." It's anything but lazy with a demanding, infectious bassline that should shake fillings out. Attila Jahanvash contributes the next two tracks, the first titled "I Can't Stop," although I could easily hit the skip button after listening to this once. The various mini-builds on "I Can't Stop" never really go anywhere and take too long to get there. Luckily, Jahanvash's next, entitled "Süss-stoff" does go to the heart of techno with a heavy bassline that ebbs and flows beneath minimal, hypnotic high end. Weirdness ensues on Rest's "Sauerstoff," which could be described as similar to wandering around some sort of digital swamp, complete with robotic frogs, over a techno beat. That didn't make any sense to me, either. Probably the most "cute" track on the compilation is Lowtec's "Mitre Peak," simply because the background noise of someone diddling on a typewriter recalls Looper. The Lazy Boned Brothers return to close the disc out by rocking some tablas to a funky end on "Feierabend." This should generate some pelvic gyrations unless you're made of stone.

Seidensticker's "Verdichtung" warrants its own paragraph because while the rest of the disc clocks in at "yeah, that's pretty good," "Verdichtung" blows everything else out of the water. Do whatever you can to hear this track, a wonderful mesh of Tortoise and the score from Resident Evil. It's rich, deep, eerie and bouncing all at the same time. My only complaint is that it ends too soon. Look out for Seidensticker in the future. Hopefully Punkt is.

By Noah Zimmerman

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