- "Revolution" might be stretching it, but there's no denying the impact Rekids has had on techno since its inception a mere three years ago. Their timing couldn't have been better: with Hawtin-esque minimal ruling the roost, Matt Edwards and co.'s brawn was just what was missing, and it was welcomed with open arms. The move was subtle too, Rekids tracks being—mostly—long flat repetitive things, but with licks and motifs from yesteryear's rave barging in like a drugged-up school bully. Heralding a wider shift towards bigger and harder sounds, they've become the perfect cross-channel companion to contemporary Berlin, forging an alliance with Ostgut Ton akin to Tresor and Detroit.
I'm not quite sure what this three disc set is intended to celebrate, but it's a well-curated product: a set of originals, one of remixes and a DJ mix. For such a big package the consistency here is remarkable, and—tellingly—the unmixed originals come off best. Rekids really is a 12-inch label, geared for clubs, and for all the joy of putting this on the home stereo or skipping about town wearing little white earbuds, this fares best through fuck-off Funktion Ones. From Matt Edwards's Radio Slave, the label's most prominent and prolific producer, we get only "Bell Clap Dance," and as the first track it's a bold introduction, its bloated synth riff threatening to render most of what follows child's play.
But Rekids delivers on pretty much whatever it sets its mind to: deep and cosmic Latin-tinged house (Kenny Hawkes & David Parr "Gemini"), clamorous, clanking neo-rave (Mr G's "U Askin'") and jazzy motorik chuggers (Spencer Parker's "Improvised Minotaur"), all these are great, and possess a charm and individuality rare in techno. Even the pieces where the debts are obvious involve the joining of more far-flung dots. Both Veinte Tres's "Serpiente Cosmica" and Spencer Parker's exclusive "Yogoto" take Basic Channel's "Phylyps Track II" as their rhythmic template, the former shaking and snaking like a glittery rattler, the latter's piano vamp hammering Chicago-style while the vocal unfurls to sunbathe on "Watamu Beach."
The remixers have quite a task on their hands, and the kookier turns are the most memorable. Christian Vogel twists Jjak Hogan's "Devo" into spiky neon knots, Andomat 3000 retains the motorik drive of Luke Solomon's "Space Invaders," adding hints of Jorg Burger, while Prins Thomas's rework of "Spirits" is a surprise fit, spitting hats and flute solos and thrusting the original into the disco it flirted with. Dettmann's take on "U Askin'" builds in the expected Berghain granite-shaking trademarks, at the expense of the central theme, while none of the three Radio Slave versions manage to top the originals, with Dubfire's "Grindhouse" particularly outclassed.
The mix by Spencer Parker is straightforward, tracks playing themselves out, showcasing the product, but it's perfunctory—a victim of heavy-hitter overload. Radio Slave dominates, the segue between "My Bleep"s particularly gripping and Parker's own contributions sound fresh, but Rekids works best around lesser company. It is nonetheless a fine finish to a bountiful box of techno.
CD1 – Unmixed
01. Radio Slave – Bell Clap Dance
02. Kenny Hawkes & David Parr – Gemini
03. Mr. G – U Askin'
04. Runaway – Brooklyn Club Jam
05. Spencer Parker – Improvised Minotaur
06. Veinte Tres – Serpiente Cosmica (Revolution edit)
07. Spencer Parker – YOGOTO [exclusive]
08. Luke Solomon – Martin, A Cello & Me
09. Toby Tobias – Breakdown (Revolution version)
CD2 – Unmixed
01. Radio Slave – Bell Clap Dance (Slam Paragraph remix)
02. Luke Solomon – Space Invaders (Andomat 3000 remix)
03. Mr. G – U Askin' (Marcel Dettmann remix)
04. Jjak Hogan – Devo (Cristian Vogel's PMP Engine Remix)
05. Radio Slave featuring Danton Eeprom – Grindhouse (Dubfire Terror
06. Luke Solomon – Spirits (Prins Thomas Disko-Tek Miks)
07. Radio Slave – Screaming Hands (WINK interpretation)
08. Radio Slave – Tantakatan (Boola remix)
09. Toby Tobias – The Feeling (I:Cube remix)
CD3 – Mixed by Spencer Parker
01. Radio Slave – Tantakatan
02. Radio Slave featuring Danton Eeprom – Grindhouse (accapella)
03. Veinte Tres – Serpiente Cosmica
04. Spencer Parker – Romantic (D'Julz remix)
05. Radio Slave – Bell Clap Dance
06. Matt O'Brien – Serotone (version)
07. Spencer Parker – YOGOTO
08. Radio Slave – Secret Base
09. Radio Slave featuring Danton Eeprom – Grindhouse (Dubfire Terror
10. Radio Slave – My Bleep
11. Radio Slave – My Bleep (Roman Flugel remix)
12. Toby Tobias – The Feeling (I:Cube remix)