Various Artists "Before We Restart" (Sick Weird Rough)
The tumbleweed blowing forlornly across this untended place is proof only of our dereliction of duty in not updating the pages. It doesn't mean that we're not as angry as any of you about the ludicrous Thatcher send-off, the pathetic Football Association, the rise of the reactionary, fantasist and thoroughly mendacious UKIP or any of the other things that can make a grown man roar: nor that we've abandoned for a single second all the love still spread by music that rings down the eras as well as by highs already brought in 2013 by any number of artistes. The sun going down can still make us cry.
We don't often purport to offer public service on these pages, but we break our monastic silence to entreat all of you who haven't yet dipped your toes into the cool, refreshing waters of Germany's SWR imprint to do so now, now, a thousand times *now*, because "Before We Restart" is a crammed-to-the-gills bargain compilation from one of the finest labels around that offers no fewer than 28 tracks from the past few years: some three hours, forty-two minutes and twenty-six seconds of dark and cutting-edge European techno. Remember, outwith the likes of Sarah, Ron Johnson and Matinée there can surely never have been a roster more killingly consistent than SWR's: it's the only dance label where buying 'sight unseen' is invariably worth the risk.
Major-league highlights of "Before We Restart" loom like the Shard over the old South Bank wharves and include Ryuji Takeuchi's truly landmark "Vital", Sven Wittekind's own tour de force singles "Hubster" and "The Twirl" and Frenkie V's off-the-wall gem "Exclude", but there are pearls aplenty really: A-sides, B-sides, album tracks, remixes ("Hubster" again, and check Virgil Enzinger's re-work of Sven and Andy White's classic "Bass Junkies"), plus a couple of cracking singles that we lauded only last year, namely Michael Schwarz's all-slaying "Function" and Frankyeffe's veritable bomb, er, "Bomb". You'll find a galaxy of other technicians on display, too, many of whom we've praised to the skies before, either down the pub or in these pages: especially Cortechs, André Walter, Tex-Rec, Eigenes Rezept and Pe'ja (who comes correct with part 2 of his crunching joy "Gilgamesh").
There's only one comparative lowlight, and dedicated readers will know it already: yes, it's Mr W's "Devil Inside" (sorry, Sven). You can probably also live without the tool mix of Space DJz' only mid-whelming "Polymath". But apart from that, "Before We Restart" is a complete and utter delight.
So. Just to repeat. For a ridiculously cheap 29p per track (less than 4p per minute) you can at last tune out the bleatings of our rabid press, and instead join us on our altar of Wittekind-worship: while we get to salivate over a record even longer than Morbid Angel's "Illud Divinus Insanum" remix epic. This is, truly, a win/win thing.