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Various Artists-Synchronicity Part Two (Symbolism)

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London techno veteran, and pioneer of the Hardgroove sound, Ben Sims' label Symbolism releases the Synchronicity Part 2 Compilation later this month. Symbolism is Ben’s label for the more aggressive, dissonant (some would say ‘less groovy’) side of his repertoire as both a DJ and producer – here with an LP containing no less than a mammoth 20 cuts, with an emphasis on the aforementioned sound, albeit with no production from Sims himself this time round.

Hot on the heels of Synchronicity Part One, released a few months back, Synchronicity Part Two continues the theme, featuring a virtual smorgasbord of techno veterans vs. techno upstarts, with a great number of excellent contributions from both sides of the board.

Overall, this is a fine release, although obviously, with this number of tracks, not everything will be to everyone’s liking. I’m going to proceed by highlighting the specific tracks that really do it for me personally.

With styles ranging from outright industrial, to more minimal, abstract affairs this LP goes some way toward demonstrating the range available to Symbolism as a label, without ever betraying its initial ideology.

"Dorian’s Groovebox" from Kerrie is a fine example of the industrial tinged minimalism that Symbolism does so well, pounding insistent percussion overlain with heavily delayed stabs introducing a nice offbeat, borderline funk vibe kicks off the release nicely, detailing the deeply contrasting sounds to come. "In Circles" from Dotdat continues with the heavy vibe, driving beats with an underlying intensity provided by erratic stabs and cuts and subtle yet vibrant chords.

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Insolate come into the fray with all guns blazing, "Night Love" is a veritable powerhouse of a track that builds unrepentantly with the aid of some fierce hi-hats and anxiety inducing hooks worming their way around the mighty percussion. This one is deadly.

Ritzi Lee drops "Tunnel Effect" here, fans of his sound will definitely not be disappointed. The fuzzy, distorted lead bass Is pulled along, screaming, by some great drum-work and urgent FX-f*ckery that will leave lightweights decimated.

One of the highlights of this LP for me personally is "Wiadomo Driven" by Private Press, a quirkier affair, still as tough as all hell breaking loose, but with a layer of abstractness that makes this track properly distinctive. Slamming, clap on kick style drums power this beast without overpowering it if you get my drift – that spaced out hook is what this is all about. Guaranteed to pull the listener down the proverbial rabbit hole. In a similar vein Flaws’ "Harmony" is another powerhouse of a track propelled by an abstract, distinctive hook – persistent, and with some great drum sections which hammer the point home.

"Human reactions" by Pushmann is a hypnotic affair, heavily delayed, and distorted bell-type-sounds engage the audience, enveloping them in a sonically induced vortex, again – with some jack-tastic beats and a subtle yet intrinsic bass-lead.

In my opinion, "All Bark, No Bite" from Vinicius Honorio is the stand-out track on this LP, although I would disagree with the title – there’s definitely plenty of ‘bite’ on display here. Less industrial in nature, more mesmerizing and punchy, with plenty of spaced-out effects and some lovely detail in the percussive composition, this one evolves perfectly into some kind of intergalactic, sonically powered anecdote, evoking involuntary, spasmodic movements in both mind and body.

"Datura" from Paula Cazenave is a perfect mix of controlled rage in audio form, the harsh, machine-funk groove, underpinned by punchy, tight kicks is all the better for its simplicity. I, for one, cannot wait to hear this out.

Eric Fetcher’s "OC24.3" also stands out here, uncompromising and erratic in equal measure, with piercing synths and wobbly bass and some great conga riffs that float in and out of the mix enhancing the sense of space and depth. This one is wild. As is George Tounisidis’ "The Tunnel" - the title is actually quite fitting, due to the fact that this number induces the feeling of speeding, uncontrollably through a long – and yes, dark, tunnel with sonic minutiae flying at you from all angles. This one has some amazing attention paid to the detail on the drums, when they kick in, it kicks-off!

Elisa Bee’s "Operator" finishes off the release in perfect style, a memorable hook – intentionally mechanical in nature generates some crazy energy here, accompanied by some tight programming on the drums and an understated sense of power and purpose emanating from its offbeat composition.

In summary – a great outing from Ben Sims’ Symbolism label, a perfect illustration of the label’s direction and strategy. Discordant, abstract and driving warehouse music for late night monsters from the deep.

Reviewed by: The Hi-Tek Lo-Life