- It's tempting to view the six editions of Perlon's Superlongevity series as capstones summarising the various phases of the label's 20-year history. But what's most striking is how little has changed in the music. While aesthetic preferences come and go, the underlying core remains consistent. If Dimbiman's "Turtle Gone" had come out on the inaugural 1999 edition, it might've placed greater emphasis on the goofy, spasmodic vocal cut-ups typical of the era. But the featherlight skip of the hats, the threatening bass movements and subliminal tendencies are otherwise the same. It's an abstract vision of groove that's impervious to change.
The same could be said of Pile's quietly beautiful "Noshow," a dark horse highlight among the 18 tracks on this quadruple-vinyl package. Its alien syncopations, android sound design and daydream pads are begging for an airing at the frayed end of an extended session—in other words, it's classic Perlon. While some of the crooning vocals from the back catalogue may forever recall afterhours drug psychosis circa 2006, tracks like "Noshow" represent Perlon at its discombobulated best. This kind of thing was avant-garde in 1999, yet it still sounds cutting edge today. That might be an indictment of modern dance music as well as a compliment to Perlon. Either way, it shows how the label's continuing relevance is as rare as it is impressive.
For all the talk of consistency, Superlongevity 6 is a clear standout in the series. Each edition has had its fair share of strong tracks, but this one has an even higher strike rate. Some of this is to do with the refreshing approaches of latter-day Perlon names like Margaret Dygas and Binh. But the old hands—especially Pile, Dimbiman and Soul Capsule—deliver some of their best work in a long time. The Soul Capsule track has a quiet kick drum, which allows their inimitable shuffle, a hardcore-sized bassline and (of course) a garbled vocal snippet to loop endlessly while maintaining a light touch. The funk is on par with classic groovers like "Instrument (Soul Capsule On It)" but the mix is left wide open.
Akufen's turn as The Stowaway similarly ranks as one of his finest efforts in recent memory. As ever, the swing and bassline is deep in the pocket, but the harmonic progression and chiming synth chords give it an almost mystical character that's brooding yet playful. Narcotic Syntax turn in by far the collection's most audacious tune, which dramatically slows down and speeds up at one point, as if the DJ stumbled and fell onto the pitch fader. The growling bassline seems to have a mind of its own as it swerves around clattering 808 percussion, lending the track a deranged, psychotic edge.
The compilation also benefits from its cast of Superlongevity first-timers. Binh, Maayan Nidam and Spacetravel provide tracks that wouldn't have sounded out of place on their respective releases from last year. But in this context, their hardware jam-led sounds stand out. Dygas, making her second appearance in the series, continues the fine form last heard on Even 11, presenting a playfully psychedelic cut that finds power in restraint and space. They might come from a different generation than the label founders, but the musical vision they share seems to know no age.
01. The Stowaway - A Suspicious Passenger
02. International Anything - When It's Dark (Moonlight Medley)
03. Bodycode - Synchronized Sleep
04. Kalabrese - Düdingen
05. Pile - Noshow
06. Dimbiman - Turtle Gone
07. Margaret Dygas - Saasafras
08. Fumiya Tanaka - Standing North 6
09. Baby Ford - Dognosematic
10. Narcotic Syntax - Agents With Fatty Acids
11. Ricardo Villalobos - Gono Fuznk
12. Binh - Wochenbett
13. Darren - 1999 / 2017 (Extended Version)
14. Spacetravel - No More
15. Soul Capsule - Them Yeah
16. Sammy Dee - Marvon Goes Savage Deep
17. Maayan Nidam - Trail Of Glitter
18. Melchior Productions Ltd - The Hope