Various Artists – Blueprint25 LP
The legendary Blueprint Records, as I am sure aficionados are already aware, celebrates its 25th anniversary this month with this heaving, behemoth of a collection of 25 years' worth of innovative, assertive, and forward-thinking techno laced with ferocious energy and thought-provoking depth in equal measure. Each track, seemingly chosen to represent a different facet of the label’s output shines in its own right whilst unwittingly functioning as the individual parts of a greater whole.
There are cuts dating back to their very first year right up to some more modern-day releases. One thing that becomes clear when checking out this LP is that Blueprint has never wavered from its initial objectives, there is a story here – one that, at times – often in fact, makes for unsettling listening. Blueprint was never about compromise; it was never about comfort zones – quite the opposite. Challenging, synapse engaging, left of centre – and both pure and dark of heart.
Featuring slices of nerve lacerating anxiety and brooding melancholia from such luminaries as label owner and founder James Ruskin, Robert Hood, Mark Broom, the sorely missed Richard Polson (RIP mate), Surgeon, Truncate, O_V_R, Oliver Ho and many more; there is more than enough here to keep any techno trainspotters salivating for quite some time.
Some would argue, however, that some of the lesser-known signings are the real gems on here - I am undecided, to me it’s all good. The so good it’s scary (literally!) Lakker deliver Static Lamp, a slice of tech so damned haunted, your thoughts will no longer be your own after listening and your sleep will be disturbed. This track sticks with you well into the shadowy hours before dawn. Arkose by Rommek is another fine example of chilling, spooky techno that reverberates within a kind of neanderthal-esque, cavernous soundscape, distinctive and memorable.
Operation Neptune by Samuel Kerridge is something I have long had in my box, and I am super happy it is featured here. This is some discordant head-f*ckery of the highest order. This is literally unlike anything else I have ever heard – and I have been around the block. Searing analogue textures intertwine, overlap and fold in on themselves. Deeply unnerving, the soundtrack to some post-apocalyptic sacrificial ritual or something – it is that dark and original. This one deserves re-releasing and a shed load more respect.
All in all, a mighty, thunderous even, release with so much to offer both newcomers to, and fans of, the Blueprint sound. I tried to focus on some of the lesser-known names here, but really – 25 killer tracks of the downright psychotic variety, to celebrate 25 years of pushing the envelope, of running the reds is too much for this reviewer to do justice to.
Essential, looking forward to the next 25 years of virulently intensive sonic warfare.
Reviewed by: The Bearded Wonder
PS: There is a special “25 Years of Blueprint” at London’s Fabric, the day after this is released - Saturday 30th October. My advice is to get your respective arses down there to experience the formidable decksmanship of label head James Ruskin alongside a veritable musical soulmate for both the label and James, the one and only Regis (whose brutal new release we’ll be covering later this week!) - on their legendary sound system. Be there or be whatever!