Peter Van Hoesen‘s ‘Time To Express‘ has delivered a near-faultless discography of pitch black techno frequently more redolent of a particularly messy night in Berghain than that of Ostgut itself. But what’s made the 61 Center Returning series so strong is diversity of both contributor and tone; Vol. 1 wandered into dubbier territory (the Pendle Coven mix on ‘Liss01’), Vol. 2 strayed into broken, Surgeon-friendly kick structures (PVH, Sendai & SP-X’s ‘Northeast’) and Vol. 3 wasn’t afraid to drop the tempo (Tr Nch & Iori’s ‘Barreleye’).
Both offerings on this 4th instalment, however, tread a single-minded path, clanking and stomping their way around the murkiest nooks of the mainroom. Donato Dozzy makes a repeat appearance from Vol. 3’s opening cut ‘Elektra’ but now, as then, his uniquely druggy brand of techno seems to have been more or less subsumed into the PVH ouevre. A beautifully-weighted kickdrum and sharply defined hi-hats syncopate energetically with bitcrushed low end textures, providing a rock solid foundation for resonant noise impacts to weave around a slowly building dissonant pad, itself giving way to a tight clap pushing the heady brew away from the obvious Sandwell touchstones.
On the flip, it’s pleasing to see a T2X debut for Stroboscopic‘s man du jour Lucy, who delivers his interpretation of PVH’s Entropic City track ‘Defense Against The Self’. Fans of Lucy‘s recent EP & album (and there are many) basking in a panoply of peerless sound design but perhaps wishing for a little more meat will quickly be satiated here. A punishingly heavy kick drum, ominous, chorused square wave bleeps, mean, fussy hi hats and a decaying, buried drone build and drive upwards with a real sense of purpose, delivering 9 minutes of uncomplicated, primordial satisfaction.