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various-dots & pearls ii 2lp (cocoon)

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various: dots & pearls ii

Cocoon Recordings is back in full force with the sequel to their superb vinyl compilation Dots & Pearls. Providing a tracklisting that is nothing less than the modern interpretation of house, techno and tech-house, Dots & Pearls II eschews monotonous loops and predictable formulas and rather delivers a selection packed with energy and depth. Ilario Alicante and Todd Bodine have produced a recording with a wonderfully stripped and spacious feel to it, conjuring up an early-hours feel with its entrancing effects and stabs. Next up we have Subb-an (feat. Jacob Phono) with "In the Night," a track that explores how the sound and atmosphere of big '90s techno acts like Underworld can be transferred into our contemporary minimal and deep house universe. Resonant beats and percussion, some 808 claps, funky fills and filtered layers match perfectly with the hypnotic vocals and form a captivating whole. Mark Reeve's contribution "Carry Me" springs from typically Reeve-like UK-influenced house sounds. Softly-filtered layers and cool vocal elements provide the right mood, and the long build-up makes this one of the best and deepest British tech house tracks in recent times. With "Jellied Eels," Marco Effe steps up to try and win the prize of "the fattest beats on the compilation." The E-piano chords are a surefire hit and the warm layers in the breaks loosen the heavily-muscled beats a little, but they can't hide the fact that this is an energy-packed affair. Danito & Agent!'s track travels further into the realms of cinematic techno. Detroit sends its regards with a fat bass/strings combination and much pathos. With "Iwato," M_nus figurehead Ambivalent contributes a slightly dark but still deep and minimal techno track that lives on a juicy Chicago bass line. Harvey McKay's "First Strike from Mars" is demanding, massive and equipped with a mighty beat -- reminiscent of recent Slam releases or some of the stronger Santos productions. Sawlin's "Posay" plumbs the depths of the techno ocean, with plenty of echo and even more reverb -- his remote metallic percussion creating an atmosphere that would also be perfect as the soundtrack for a big art installation.

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