v/a: The Black Ideal (Unknown Precept)
Unknown Precept, a Parisian indie label, is new to me, but they certainly made one hell of a first impression with this sterling collection of dark leftfield techno tracks. Some artists are familiar to me, such as Ancient Methods, Shifted, and Polar Inertia. Anyone familiar with those acts ought to have a general idea of what to expect hered. But it’s a superbly sequenced and curated collection of tracks, probably the best techno compilation I’ve heard in a long, long time. Ancient Methods’ “Guardians of Eternal Bliss” is a beatless prologue that is one of my personal favorites. It’s not the only beatless track, either; a nice untitled track from Shifted breaks up the playlist as well. Another definite highlight is … & …’s “Reinforcement G,” with its chunky, distorted broken beat and hypnotic patterns, probably the most rough and tumble of the set, with Violetshaped’s “Black Wisdom, White Teeth” coming in at a close second. Polar Inertia’s “Antimatter” is surprisingly my least favorite of the bunch, a minimal shufflebeat number that’s certainly not bad, but lacks some of the bite of the other tracks here. Saäad with Mondkopf, by comparison, is icy and gorgeous, thick with atmosphere and effects. Over the span of eight tracks, The Black Ideal traverses a fair amount of musical terrain, with plenty of variety while still adhering to such a dark aesthetic. Top notch stuff — I hope that Unknown Precept continues to release such quality material.