- By now Dystopian is one of techno's most recognisable outfits. It's been a steady climb to their current position, beginning with their first party in 2009. Since then, the small team (who, aside from its artists, mostly remain anonymous) have built their brand around a gloomy sound and visual aesthetic. The word "uncompromising" has become one of dance music's clichés, but there are few labels that fit the description as well as Dystopian.
Excluding Rødhåd and Recondite's breakout success as touring acts, Dystopian's ascent hasn't come with any big bangs. Unlike many top-tier techno labels (Stroboscopic Artefacts, Token and Prologue, for example), the Dystopian sound is almost exclusively dark, and not the kind of music that makes for hit records. But through consistency and staunch quality control, the label has earned itself a loyal following.
Soliloquy is, unsurprisingly, Dystopian's most diverse release so far. Alongside cuts from its core members—Rødhåd, Alex.Do and Recondite—fringe artists and newcomers play a vital role in the Blade Runner-themed double-vinyl pack. Don Williams, a longtime friend of the crew, supplies the collection's most expansive and engaging cut, a hypnotic, acid-tinged workout that nods to the Mike Parker school of techno but kicks a lot harder. Gotzkowsky and Ron Albrecht provide more atmospheric selections with "Shoulder Of Orion" and "Time To Die," respectively. Like Recondite's powerful opener, Vril's "Tannhäuser Gate" is spacious and immersive, a welcomed detour from the occasionally disorienting sound of the rest of the compilation.
Subtle variations on Dystopian's signature sound keep things fresh from start to finish. Rødhåd told us back in 2013 that he and his friends were "melancholic guys," and the techno they deliver here is precisely that. It's also functional, streamlined and classy—a powerful combination in the right DJ's hands.
A1 Recondite - People Wouldn't Believe
A2 Don Williams - Attack Ships On Fire
B1 Gotzkowsky - Shoulder Of Orion
B2 Distant Echoes - Glitter In The Dark
C1 Vril - Tannhauser Gate
C2 Alex.Do - Lost In Time
D1 Rødhåd - Like Tears In The Rain
D2 Ron Albrecht - Time To Die