Various - The Blonde / The Brunette / The Redhead

  • Share
  • With Mistress, DVS1 has proven that he's almost as good an A&R as he is a DJ. Since launching in 2013, Zak Khutoretsky's label has enjoyed an impressive run of success, coaxing bona fide anthems out of low-profile producers (Borrowed Identity's "Leave Your Life," Juxta Position's "Mercy," Daniel Jacques' exquisite "End Of My World"). Strikingly, these releases have often run at a tangent to the more techno-driven style with which Khutoretsky made his name. By now Mistress has a sound of its own: sparse, stylish, darkly erotic. Having said that, Mistress 05 confuses this easy categorisation. Comprising three 12-inches (whose needlessly objectifying titles—The Blonde, The Brunette, The Redhead—are probably best ignored) and 80 minutes of music, the compilation broadens Mistress's stylistic range but maintains its daring approach to A&R. Only one past Mistress signing appears: Juxta Position, who returns with the acid track "World Domination." And there are no more than a couple of established producers (Chicago's Jerome Baker and Dutch duo A&S have both been around for years, but are far from household names). Instead, the bulk of these artists are relatively untested, and without the career momentum of a rising star. Khutoretsky seems to think the tracks speak for themselves, and he's right. The strike rate is particularly good early on. On 5.1, only Kirill Mamin's rather maudlin "Cutting" hits anything but the bullseye. Jonas Friedlich's vision for dub techno on "Thuesdub" is gaunt and very quietly funky. Nicson & An Gelo turn in the compilation's housiest moment on "Freek," whose insouciant pads drift queasily off-pitch as the track shimmies by. ASOK's "Purple Saturn Day" is perhaps closest in style to past Mistress records, contrasting the gooey bliss of its chords with the boney, martial rhythm beneath them. All work closely within house and techno convention, but do so with a seriously stylish touch. 5.2 notches up the intensity with mixed results. The melody of Ombossa's "Bonish Thuggish" loops weirdly over a beat with the itch of DJ Spider. That one is pretty compelling; Discrete Circuit's endlessly strobing 'Incursion," less so. But 5.3 is a return to form. "Grind," a track from Minneapolis up-and-comer Mike Gervais, is big-room techno executed with flair and grace. There's Balearic drama on Nutype's "Noisy Ride," whose hammy top-line feels excessive but totally welcome. And then there's Opinion's "Autobahnkirche," the Berghain cousin of Kowton's tumbledown "Doing Nothing." Each is slick, characterful and with a surprise or two up its sleeve. So much so that the closer, a solid enough Mills clone by A&S, feels shown up by its company.
  • Tracklist
      Mistress 5.1 (The Blonde): A1 Jonas Friedlich – Thuesdub A2 ASOK – Purple Saturn Day B1 Nicson & An Gelo – Freek B2 Kirill Mamin – Cutting Mistress 5.2 (The Brunette): C1 Ombossa – Bonish Thuggish C2 Jerome Baker - Track 20 D1 Juxta Position – World Domination D2 Discrete Circuit – Incursion Mistress 5.3 (The Redhead): E1 Nutype – Noisy Ride E2 Mike Gervais – Grind F1 Opinion – Autobahnkirche F2 A&S – Xenix