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Techno: Evan Cowden, Justin Martin, Pleqq, Press, Claude VonStroke

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EVAN COWDEN: All (CD EP on BOBD Productions)

This release from 2005 features 27 minutes of dance music.

This music is lushly orchestrated. The popping bass is prominent and quite tasty. The e-perc churns with lively rhythms with carefree abandon. Sinuous electronics generate a luxurious dancefloor environment. Keyboards sweep and cavort, delivering snappy riffs that evoke silvered walls and flashing lights.

Sultry female vocals extol the virtues of being young and having fun.

The tunes are solid and entrancing, blending vibrant tempos with seductive melodies filled with clever hooks.

This disc features three versions of two tracks: a remix, a radio edit and an instrumental version. Remarkably, the instrumental takes sound more embellished than the remixes.

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JUSTIN MARTIN: Cicada (CD EP on Dirty Bird Records)

This release from 2005 offers 23 minutes of house music.

This EP features the template track and three remixes by Claude VonStroke, Frankie, and Pedro De La Faydro.

This music blends peppy rhythms and frolicsome riffs with lush fem vocals and a chorus of treated chipmunks. The basic structure is attractive, cluttered with a plethora of effects that zing out of nowhere. Despite its modern edge, there's an undercurrent of classic dance music lurking in the tunes that durably bridges innovation with tradition.

The remixes apply different moods to the fundamental track. One sedates the pace while introducing hissing cymbals and beats that stretch like rubber. Another prunes things down to basics, then gets really funky with this growling minimalism. The last remix lends a romantic flair with slippery treatments and swooping keys.

A tasty dose of house that takes the audience on a whirlwind tour of styles from Frisco to West End to Paris.

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PLEQQ: Psychoanarchitecture (CD on Sonic Perfume)

This release from 2005 features 57 minutes of superbly crafted techno.

Pleqq is Dan T.

Hyperactive e-perc propels a frolicsome nest of driving electronics. Spiraling riffs cavort with frenetic abandon, embellished by surging keyboards and peppy effects. The chords sweep along with high velocity, interweaving to achieve a state of dazzling dynamism. Whirligig melodies explode with pleasant results, stimulating enthusiastic dancefloor sensibilities.

Intriguing combinations are generated, enlivening the already exciting tuneage with a clever fusion of dreamy aspects and maniac pulsations. Inventive sounds bristling with razor demeanor burst forth, slicing their way into swaying harmonics and injecting stamina of a highly electrified nature.

The relentless e-perc is augmented with deep bass tones that approximate additional tempos, achieving a seething swarm of insistent rhythms. These beats never reach a stage of confusion, however, instead delivering an entertaining stability of non-stop motion.

These tunes abound with complex structure. This intricacy is nicely arranged with just the right amount of breathing points before things resume their exhausting pace. The melodies are infectiously catchy, and one is often left wishing the tune would continue on into infinity.

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PRESS: The Fine Art of a White Label (CD on Lens Records)

This release from 2005 offers 30 minutes of dance electronica.

Press is Robin Smith.

A powerhouse of percussion explodes in this music. The tempos are intricate and high-paced, and the synths that accompany them is just as dense and clever. Effects appear, cavort, then refuse to depart, leaving the tunes packed with fun.

Real drums are aided by synthetic beats, creating a blurring battery of massive appeal. And yet the result is not exhausting or overwhelming, instead generating a vibrantly exhilarating sound that transcends hypnotic, delving deeply into territories of lush intensity.

One track employs vocal samples, but the rest are voice free, allowing the beats to concoct a mesmerizing realm of pulsing sound that captivates as it energizes.

While the overall compositions are direct and uncluttered with unnecessary distractions, this simple structure is amply satisfying. The melodies slide easily through thickets of dueling rhythms, oiling an already fluid flow with their seductive charm.

Rewarding and dazzling.

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CLAUDE VONSTROKE: Deep Throat (CD EP on Dirty Bird Records)

This release from 2005 offers 18 minutes of dance music.

This CD EP features three tracks, the original cut by VonStroke, and two remixes by John Tejada and Justin Martin.

This music is straight ahead house with strong beats and electronics that surge and frequently chitter. There's a dark clockwork quality to the tuneage that evokes basement robotics and sweeping dancefloor spotlights. A croaking vocal surfaces periodically to make a statement then recede with a sharp breath.

The remixes pepper the music with denser harmonics and more effects, fractalizing the rhythms into shattered tempos and injecting a sense of unpredictability to the basic tune.

While generally simplistic, this tune has catchy hooks and a durable tempo--and that's what the dance floor is all about.

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