- Over the past nine years, the rubber stamps on Workshop's 12-inches have depicted, among other things, ravens, faucets, horses, mountaintops, a bearded man (Rasputin?) and the beetle-typewriter from David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch. These images nicely capture Workshop's personality. The records Lowtec and Even Tuell release vary widely in style, from techno to house to disco to ambient, but they all share a certain spirit—playful, understated and mysterious. This has never been more true than on Workshop 21, the label's latest mini-compilation.
Following two excellent records from Workshop's old guard—Kassem Mosse's debut album and Lowtec's last EP—Workshop 21 presents four tracks from lesser-known UK artists. The A-side cuts are the catchiest things Workshop's ever released. First is Willow's "Feel Me," a sub-heavy house tune with an earworm R&B vocal that was a highlight of Move D's fabric 74. Then we get "Somebodies Baby," a woozy lo-fi pop number by Tapes, a London artist previously spotted on Sex Tags offshoots Amfibia and Thug Records.
The B-side takes a different tack. "Villager," a 1996 production by a short-lived artist called The Horn, is clunky, angular house, all swirling rhythms and melodramatic synths. "Lost Track" is a contemporary effort in the same tradition—a murky, dreamlike crawler by Herron, owner of The Soup Kitchen in Manchester and resident at its main party, meandyou. Each track strikes a different chord, and together they easily make up one of Workshop's finest records.
A1 Willow - Feel Me
A2 Tapes - Somebodies Baby
B1 The Horn - Villager
B2 Herron - Lost Track