- With intangible music formats becoming increasingly popular, the continuation of Cocoon’s annual 6x12” box set series seems antiquated and excessive, even for vinyl enthusiasts. I’ve a few of the old volumes, and they tend to sit comfortably static, decorating the mantle like a techno "Fairest and Best" trophy. This is not wholly fair, as past years have contained some doozies: Roman Flügel’s ‘Geht’s Noch?’, Gerber & Aber's ‘Sea of Sand’, Cobblestone Jazz’s ‘W’. And the coloured vinyl is always a draw (blue this year). 2008’s Compilation H, though, is sadly more filler than killer, a functional but unnecessarily thick document for the archives.
Like past volumes, H mostly sticks to the peak-time build-collapse Cocoon ethos, applied here to a range of mostly chilly minimal structures. They could all show up at various points in a Sven Väth set, but few would raise an eyebrow; Väth has assembled a fine list of contributors, but they turn in lacklustre material. Joris Voorn’s ‘Dark Side of the Moog’ is an underwhelming example of this sound, a fine but forgettable combination of sampled bongo rattlings and clipped female groans, while Efdemin’s ‘Float’ equally trades on his trademark ‘depth’, and turns out a predictable, straight-shooting chugger. Dubfire vs. Oliver Huntemann’s ‘Diablo’ is a diluted display of pings, fizz and radio static; Väth vs Flugel’s ‘Trashbindance’ is similarly disappointing, especially given the name—streams of Detroit blips wandering, lost, into bolder Reinhard Voigt fuzz.
H does contain a few pleasant surprises. Cassy’s ‘A Plea for Me’ is so simple it could have been programmed by a child, but that it works is baffling. Mark August’s ‘3 of a Kind' takes DJ Koze’s ‘Brutalga Square’ rattlings, drowns them in vintage effects, and adds a stomping bass to good effect, and the trancey hues of Boratto’s ‘Golen Axe’ could come straight from Chromophobia. The out-and-out winner however goes to Len Faki, his aptly titled ‘Death by House’ a brazen ‘fuck off’ to the laziness littering this set. He’s abandoned the smart linearity of ‘Mekong Delta’ for jarring ‘ardkore bluster: sirens, rising chords and a pitched-down vintage acid voice, all highly thrilling and deftly employed. That the best thing here could have been written 15 years ago would be worrying were it not so good, and it offers a fine argument for a serious rave revival.
H is a mixed bag, nothing overtly offensive but little to get excited about. Were the singles available individually I’d say go straight for the Faki, but as it stands you’ll need space for a few more inches on your shelves.
01. Cassy - A Plea For Me
02. Joris Voorn - The Deep Side Of The Moog
03. Raudive - Tempo
04. Väth vs Flügel - Trashbindance
05. Simon Baker - U
06. Len Faki - Death By House
07. Dubfire vs Oliver Huntemann - Diablo
08. Tolga Fidan - Us And Them
09. Gui Boratto - Golden Axe
10. Efdemin - Float
11. Mark August - 3 Of A Kind
12. Matt Star - Am I Dreaming