- Sleep deprivation: a condition familiar to any touring DJ. It's certainly no stranger to Nina Kraviz, judging by the latest conceptual release on her Трип label. The release's sedated minimal moods might come as a surprise after the high-tempo ragers of When I Was 14. But in terms of a harmony between concept and sound, this record might be the label's most successful yet, even if it has a few weak spots.
The release opens with the track that inspired its concept, Roma Zuckerman's "Sleep Not Found (North Edit)." It's a marvellously evocative piece of heavy-lidded techno, all drowsy mumbling, muffled hiss and distant synth warble. What pass for melodies are kept furtive and low in the mix, like auditory hallucinations creeping in under the hum of your hotel room's AC. From there the record takes a bit of a dip. There's a fine line between hypnotic repetition and techno wallpaper, and Deniro's "G" and Maayan Nidam's "Infinite Rattle" skirt it. The former track is the record's most energetic, but its twitchy angst isn't convincing. The latter's flickering groove lacks atmospheric depth.
Nidam comes correct with another contribution, "Justice For Some," whose undulating drums and alien synth moans do something ten times stranger with equally limited materials. It's the third in a trio of excellent tracks, the others being from two Icelanders. Bjarki's "Prins Polo Caramel Milkshake," under the alias Bbbbbbb, teases odd off-key vocals over a satisfying swampy groove. Older hand Exos delivers the slight-but-compulsive "Dub Jazz," a slinky loop with dub techno chords spinning off its surface. The momentum drops slightly with the closer, a 13-minute epic from Alan Backdrop under the name A_000. He crams a tonne of ideas into "Glicine," but he can't really make sense of them. Then again, maybe that's the point: to a sleep-deprived brain, nothing quite seems to add up. The sensation isn't always unpleasant.
A1 Roma Zuckerman - Sleep Not Found (North Edit)
A2 Deniro - G
B1 Maayan Nidam - Infinite Rattle
B2 Bbbbbb - Prins Polo Caramel Milkshake
C1 Exos - Dub Jazz
C2 Maayan Nidam - Justice For Some
D1 A_000 - Glicine