N/A, Variance Edits

[Sandwell District]

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Where is the original version of “Variance”? What about “Variance II”? Who is N/A (or is the artist’s name just “not available”)? Thing is, the original artist’s name doesn’t really matter; the only name that does is Sandwell District. They’ve always had a penchant for facelessness, and with the recent release of the “Variance Edits” over two pieces of vinyl they’ve gone a step further into anonymity. But you always know where you stand with Sandwell District, and here they give you exactly what you ordered: “True. Techno. Music.”

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Function is up first with a dark, foreboding slice of techno on a beautiful piece of blue vinyl. Starting with some otherworldly sounds, ominous bass tones soon settle in amid heavily delayed rattles and quirky two note bloops. It takes its time setting up, but once the destructive kick drum hits with those trademark Function claps you can almost see a packed warehouse with strobes blaring. Marcel Dettmann is next, wading through a murky swamp of bass with low, twisted synth noises bubbling at the surface. There’s a faint hint of melody somewhere, but it’s too far submerged below the cloudy water to make out. Regis’ take of “Variance IV” incorporates the rhythms of dubstep slightly, which when coupled with Mika Vainio-esque bleeps, reverberating bass notes and a relentless kick drum make for an extremely accurate picture of techno in 2009. Sandwell District are uninterested in trends; they do techno. Hordes of producers just happen to follow in their wake.

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