CD, Elektrotribe, 2009
Berlin-based label Elektrotribe, founded in 2006, is cultivating a solid repertoire that covers the latest in techno, electro, tech house and related styles of electronic dance music. Having released one of my recent favorites (Error Response, “Zen”), I must admit I’m rather partial to the label’s chosen direction and curious to hear more. The “ZigZag” series is one way to accomplish just that. Extremely short format, each edition of “ZigZag” intends to focus on a different type of sound or style, giving a brief sampling of a handful of artists. Elektrotribe’s stated ambition is to release one of these samplers every month. “ZigZag Vol. 2” presents a ‘dirty beats’ theme, and therefore the techno is generally a little darker, a little faster, but with the exception of Digital Filth’s “Sharp”, I wouldn’t term much of it truly dirty.
That aside, the spectrum covered by a mere five tracks is impressive. Being seated in Berlin, Elektrotribe has given itself the advantage of being at the pulsing nucleus of contemporary techno. Adam Smith’s “Spare Change” is mediocre dance floor fodder, its driving tech house sound accented by standard party-hype bleeps. “Sii”, by Moos Bart & Marco Parenti, full of nice pops and clicks and sporting a hypnotic beat, is without doubt proper minimal techno; my pick for best track here. Pol Moreno’s “Me Complico Lo Sencillo” admittedly gets dirtier than its neighbors, but from a rollicking acid perspective. “Atlantis” is the sampler’s slowest track and by far the most atmospheric, with its ambient pulse and percolating chimes. It’s a mystery why this peaceful, airy composition from Mr. Haselbain would be considered anything but sparkling clean chillout, and quality at that. Finally, aforementioned Digital Filth has given the second “ZigZag” installment its darkest and, frankly, filthiest number. With a thumping beat and the looping “don’t give a fuck” sample, “Sharp” holds the timeless, edgy sound of true hard techno, suitable for peak time.
In summation, Elektrotribe shows potential to continue releasing good and diverse techno, ready-made for the nonstop Berlin party scene, though whether it ever rivals established and innovative label peers like Kompakt and BPitch Control remains to be seen.
— Dutton Hauhart