- Veronica Vasicka's Minimal Wave sub-label, Cititrax, is an essential source for new connections between techno, EBM, dark wave and beyond. Its second compilation EP, Tracks Volume 2, again jumps from strength to strength as it seeks out fresh sounds for the dance floor. Contributions come from familiar faces, as well as artists who sound right at home making their label debuts.
The two returning producers offer straightforward, peak-time cuts. Tzusing's "Nonlinear War" is brought to a boil with jagged drums and distorted synths that steadily build. There's something cinematic here that's hard to resist, though it lacks the intense atmospheric weirdness of Tzusing's Volume 1 contribution, "King Of System." With its angular lead and haunting ambiance drawn over crisp, punchy percussion, Silent Servant's "The Touch" is the kind of techno thriller that sounds pretty much automatic for Juan Mendez, which is more than OK given the scarcity of techno with his emotional depth.
Joining Cititrax for the first time are L/F/D/M and Maelstrom. L/F/D/M is the alias of London-based acid purveyor Richard Smith (also half of Bronze Teeth), who offers a typically down-and-dirty party jam in "Moth Holes." Its restless percussion and doubled-up synths—one low and staccato, the other high and scratchy—make for a twitchy, textured sort of funk. Maelstrom, real name Joan-Mael Péneau, is a French producer who's traced an interesting path through electronic music over the past decade or so. Funky breakbeats, over-the-top electro and UK bass styles count among his releases, but he's recently honed a gritty, industrialized kind of techno that only vaguely recalls his earlier output. On "Lithium," Péneau ties big, overdriven low-end and a coy melody to a bare-bones electro swagger, in a manner that recalls Adam X's ADMX-71 project. With a righteous rumble, the track finishes another diverse and satisfying set from Cititrax.
A1 Tzusing - Nonlinear War
A2 L/F/D/M - Moth Holes
B1 Silent Servant - The Touch
B2 Maelstrom - Lithium