- With трип, Nina Kraviz has proven herself to be a rare A&R talent. Each of the label's weighty double-packs finds a coherent statement in a jumble of tracks old and new. In spite of signing the odd megahit (Bjarki's "I Wanna Go Bang"), Kraviz seems more interested in seeing out her vision than making accessible, functional techno releases. (Why else the rambling concepts involving Hollywood actors?) The label's latest, When I Was 14, takes this bloody-mindedness one step further. It features what might be Kraviz's biggest coup yet, the first release of an AFX track that popped up in last year's SoundCloud dump. "P String" is a weird one, its strings ugly and dissonant, its kicks thundering along above 140 BPM. Kraviz follows the cue, favouring tracks that explore similar high tempos and melodramatic moods. They might be a hard sell on many dance floors, but they make for an engaging and unusual EP.
Bjarki and Barcode Population each provide a remorseless techno rager. The former's "Naked Naked" has a quaint prog edge that somehow makes it all the harder; the latter's "Temple Ball" is two decades older (the third track by the '90s outfit to appear on трип), but more than holds its own. Elsewhere the mood is tense and unstable. A second Bjarki track, "Baepolar," opens the EP with breakbeats and the distant threat of a Reese bassline. Another Icelander, the late Biogen, creates swirling, fractal beat patterns on an untitled track dredged from his archives. "Taorak," by Russian duo PTU, is UK garage with the bones picked clean, nervous and angular.
The odd one out is Kraviz's own track, "Don't Mind Wrong Keys." It's got the speed—she runs her Volca drum machine ragged through a distortion unit—but the mood is lightened by synth chords that wander across the keyboard with a nonchalance suggested in the title. Is it playable? Probably not, and that's part of its appeal.
A1 Bjarki - Baepolar
A2 Nina Kraviz - Don’t Mind Wrong Keys
B1 AFX - P String
C1 Bjarki - Naked Naked
C2 Barcode Population - Temple Ball
D1 Biogen - Untitled
D2 PTU - Taorak