- A modest landmark of early '90s UK techno.
- In the early '90s, UK producers were giving techno a mellow, introspective twist. Artists like B12 and Kirk Degiorgio paved the way for Warp Records' Artificial Intelligence series and a new era of electronic music you could listen to at home (or in the right kind of chill-out room). Those years were defined by open-ended creativity before genres became more rigidly defined. One cluster of producers, all connected to Mark Broom's UXB Studios in South London, captured that spirit more than most. As well as Stasis and Baby Ford, this crew of collaborators included Dave Hill, Ed Handley and Andy Turner. (The latter two were founding members of The Black Dog, and went on to form Plaid.) In 1992, those three and Broom released the first of several EPs as Repeat. Three years later, they released a full-length, Repeats, which has now been reissued by Delsin.
Repeats sums up what the group achieved before they moved onto other ventures. There is extraordinary musical variety on the album, though the tendency is towards longer tracks that constantly evolve. For a project called Repeat, there's a distinct lack of loopy techno. On "Tuesdays Hot Hit," for example, there is elaborate Latin percussion, violin stabs and acoustic guitar lines. On that track and the sprightly skip of "G-Thing" you can hear Handley and Turner's knack for the glossy melodies they went on to develop in Plaid. Moody atmospherics, ominous pads and spacious reverb offset the sunnier qualities in the music, leaving a satisfying emotional ambiguity.
On "Hurrican Felix," you'll encounter agitated arpeggios and hailstorm drums with distant pad swoops—it's fast, frantic and starkly original. Here, you get a sense of four artists feeding a tangle of elements into a complex whole. Other notable tracks include the laidback funk breaks of "Drifting Sounds Of Wikiki," the jungle gestures of "Deathbed Visions" and "Fish Stew"'s hard, computerised swing. The album's highlight, "Lilt-A," spirals out from a knot of percussion samples into epic, soaring melodies that embody techno's expressive and emotional potential. The wide range of ideas on Repeats should sound like a mess on an LP, but its consistent quality makes it a modest landmark of a golden era in UK techno.
01. End Up
03. Tuesdays Hot Hit
05. Fish Stew
06. Hurrican Felix
07. Drifting Sounds Of Wikiki
08. Deathbed Visions
09. Tommorows People