- Marc Romboy's Systematic Recordings pursues, for the most part, a similarly punchy sound to that popularized by Berlin's Get Physical, one exceptionally easy to fall for and consequently taken up by all and sundry. There's little specifically at work: precise alignments of synthetic bleeps, rotund basslines and crisp drums, all finely programmed. It’s very much a less-is-more aesthetic but, with the deluge, in danger of becoming less-is-a-bore. Systematic distinguish themselves, however, by disrupting the streamline with traces of 'real' breakdance-era electro and bumpity Chicago house, resulting in a richer, less po-faced concoction.
The label’s first showcase CD ‘Systematic Colours Volume 1’ thus has a degree of variation to flaunt, and DJ Stephan Bodzin (tipped as producer of the year by some at RA) has crafted an impressive mix. That said, Sebo K's mix of John Dahlback's ‘Ooh Oh I E’ which kicks off the disc reveals that contemporary electrohouse, rather than 'electro' and 'house', remains the core around which these forays are made. Built around processed, sensual gasps, clipped tones and neat bass and percussion arrangements, its a fine example the genre's - and the label's - qualities.
Subsequent moments are slinkier, if less direct: we're taken through a trio of Marc Romboy duets, with Bodzin, Booka Shade and Blake Baxter, the latter two indicative of the label's influences. Vocals pop up throughout, Baxter's own or someone equally menacing, and tracks like ‘Freakin', Hugg and Pepp's mix of Romboy and Robert Owens' ‘I Need’ and John Dahlback's ‘It Feels So Good’ place us as much in a New York warehouse as a Berlin member's club. Phonique's ‘River’, meanwhile, with its x-rated talk of sex and fountains, had me blushing.
Things naturally get rough towards the end, beautifully so, with neon arpeggios in DJ Fex's ‘Beautiful’ and DFA machismo in Zoo Brazil's ‘My Personal Jesus’, and there's no sign of slowing with Bodzin's own ‘Marathon Man’ and ‘Tron’ closing proceedings. Throughout, Bodzin creates a similar mood to that found in Triple R's ‘My Best Friend’ mix of last year, only the mixing is tighter, the music more insistent, and the selections more varied. Bodzin, a fine producer, has here proven himself on the wheels of steel.