Various Artists - 10 Years Treibstoff: The Compilation

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  • "Congratulations Treibstoff!" shouts Alecs Marta, minimal techno producer, fan of cheese, Depeche Mode and Cubase. These are just some of the juicy tidbits revealed in the interview track on 10 Years Treibstoff, the Cologne label's celebratory/obligatory two disc compendium of new bangers and old faves. Hard to believe it’s been ten years, but with a humble catalogue of releases and a modest but resilient aesthetic, Treibstoff have never been one to crave the spotlight. Founded by Marcel Janovsky and Rene Breitbarth, the label has skirted a safe path through the bouncing sounds of Cologne, steering clear of many of the fads and cliches that have occasionally haunted the city's more famous labels. Falko Brocksieper and Sarah Goldfarb may not be household names yet, but Rob Acid is, and with Gabriel Ananda's 'Bassmaschinchen' records to their credit they've certainly got my attention. So as expected we get one CD of exclusive new tracks mixed and an unmixed collection of past hits. Janovsky offers a strong set of groovy forward-motion minimal, pitched between Traum pastel glow, nervous Trapez skiffle and raw Dumb Unit pounding. The Cologne pedigree is immediately apparent in Robert Babicz' 'A Night in Melbourne', left to run for eight pleasant dub-bubbling minutes before breaking into Breitbarth's 'Version666', a light, dry percussive number indicative of much of the set. Swat Squad's 'Mi Yardi Zen' stands out among a slew of functional tools, reverbed woodblocks and Akufen stutters dancing around a typically Trapezian rhythm, yet Ananda's 'Sync' which follows truly sinks, brash drums and clunky salvos of machine gun electro-claps barging in with all the subtlety of hard house. This may work elsewhere but after such subtle scene-setting 'Sync', it sounds arrogant and wrong. The rest of the disc returns to form, long sleek sections with the occasional unexpected, and welcome, detour, before concluding where it began, amid the puffy clouds and perfume of Cio D'Or's 'La Petite Geisha'. The unmixed selection doesn't offer a lot to grab hold of, but 'Programmer' by Italoboyz feat. James What is an understated gem. A beautifully assembled collection of few elements - claves, castanets and the rat-tat-tat of computer keys - surround a tiny synthetic whoomp and an occasional whispered 'Shhh', but it’s the painstakingly produced bone-dry drums that make this such a perfect work. Janovsky's own 'Shopping' from 2002 still sounds surprisingly fresh, though less so than Ananda's 'Sussholz', who's weird zigzagging arpeggios and detuned steel drums call forth a chaotic German-Caribbean soundclash. Elsewhere we get retro acid bleeps (Noon(at's 'Down the Room'), music-box house (Jack Rock's 'Polyfemos') and frightening industrial melancholy (Rob Acid's 'Something'), few of which stand out but fewer offend. The novelty comes from the collection of interviews, whereby the Treibstoff roster are asked to name their favourite foods, tracks, gear and sing their own Treibstoff hit. Alternately charming (Spaniards Swat Squad and Alecs Marta) geeky (Falko Brocksieper in speak n' spell 'robot mode') and socially awkward (poor Sarah Goldfarb), overall it has Treibstoff coming across as a sweet and friendly minimal label it's producers are proud to be part of. You'll not plays it more than once, but it’s almost enough to make you forget the draped arteries and throbbing bloody heart adorning the cover.
  • Tracklist
      CD1 mixed by Marcel Janovsky 01 Robert Babicz - A night in Melbourne 02 René Breitbarth – Version666 03 Alecs Marta – BadMan 04 Falko Brocksieper – Silverlining 05 Swat Squad – Mi Jardi Zen 06 Gabriel Ananda – Sync 07 Sarah Goldfarb – Dreams will save us 08 Marcel Janovsky – Okay 09 Todd Bodine – Different floors 10 Maetrik – Runnin 11 Animaltek – Inocent robot 12 Cio D’or – La petite Geisha CD2 01 Interviews 02 Italoboyz feat. James What - Programmer 03 Noon(at – Down the room 04 Gabriel Ananda – Suessholz 05 Rob Acid – Something 06 Maetrik – Utilizame 07 Marcel Janovsky – Shopping 08 Jack Rock – Polyfemos 09 Sarah Goldfarb – 40 years ago i sold my body 10 René Breitbarth – Bob Ross 11 Novatek – Sabroso