Various - Air Texture Vol VI

  • Steffi and Martyn curate a more bumping edition of the downtempo compilation series.
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  • Since its first edition in 2011, James Healy's Air Texture compilation series has focused on ambient and downtempo music. Each unmixed set is curated by two different artists, both of whom gather unreleased tracks from their peers with one simple guideline: their selections should avoid peak-time club material. Steffi and Martyn, who make music together as Doms & Deykers, have pulled together the sixth edition of the series. Air Texture Vol VI is different from past editions in two distinct ways. Instead of presenting their picks separately, Steffi and Martyn have curated this one together, and largely move away from the tranquil textures of the first five compilations—Shed's plaintive "When The Faces Went Down" is the only ambient-leaning track here. Instead, they call upon an impressive cast of producers to cover a range of styles and tempos. Tracks from Mosca, dBridge and Actress occupy the sub-100 BPM territory. The former's "Kidney Version" is a swaggering collision of dancehall drums and low-end bassweight primed for warm-up sets. Actress's "Watercolour Challenge Part II" offers one of the compilation's most subdued moments, its chirpy synths letting in the slightest hint of melancholy over an unfussy, '80s hip-hop-style drum loop. Elsewhere, Air Texture Vol VI explores the more melodic reaches of electro. With its minimal, halftime kicks and soaring chords, DJ Stingray's "Last Shift" is a stark contrast to the steely electro the producer has released in recent years. FaltyDL's "Going West" pairs serene pads with Detroit-schooled synths and quaint spoken-word samples, making for one of his strongest moments on record in years. 214's "Shelby" is an understated slice of electro for introspective moments on the dance floor. Steffi and Martyn have said that they hoped to touch upon "both established producers and new talent." Among those newer names is Afik Naim, whose only other release to date has come via Steffi's label, Dolly. His track, "Louie's Beat," is a rolling piece of broken techno that brings the compilation closest to peak-time club fare. Late Night Approach, another act with ties to Steffi, having released a 12-inch on her Klakson label last year, deliver breakbeats and drone-like synths on "The Naus Galaxy." Novocanemusic, a Rotterdam-based producer with no previous releases, contributes "Steelmill," a track whose brisk pace is offset by a leisurely, half-step beat pattern. Air Texture Vol VI also finds room for the bass-heavy combination of techno, UK garage and dubstep that Martyn has been exploring for the last decade. His contribution, "Moves," wouldn't have sounded out of place on his most recent LP. "Into Bleeps" from Shed, a producer with whom Martyn shares some musical headspace, revolves around sparse, 2-step drums and similarly sentimental synths. The dubstep producer V.I.V.E.K.'s "Sad Smile" moves away from the rib-rattling bass frequencies he's known for, its twisted UK garage rhythms complimented by dubby bursts of melody. Compilations like this, with unreleased material pulled from so many different sources, don't always work. But with Steffi and Martyn handling curation, Air Texture Vol VI finds a number of techno and electro's finest names at the top of their game.
  • Tracklist
      01. Synkro - Observatory 02. Appleblim - Unfound 03. V.I.V.E.K. - Sad Smile 04. Answer Code Request - Pasiris 05. Shed - Into Bleeps 06. dBridge & Lewis James - Verloren 07. Tracing Xircles - Kaieteur Falls 08. Samuel Pling - Bottomfeeder 09. Herron - Touching 10. Steffi - Between Form And Matter 11. Afik Naim - Louie's Beat 12. Mosca - Kidney Version 13. Stingray - Last Shift 14. Shed - When The Faces Went Down 15. Novocanemusic - Steelmill 16. Actress - Watercolour Challenge Part II 17. Mesak - Sauhu 18. FaltyDL - Going West 19. 214 - Shelby 20. As One - The Ladder 21. Total Science - Cowbell 22. Basic Soul Unit - Light Out 23. Barker - Terminal 24. Late Night Approach - The Naus Galaxy 25. Martyn - Moves 26. KiNK - Tal Atonal