CD/free download, The Centrifuge, 2010
If the thought ever crossed your mind that, strangely enough, there isn’t enough acid electronic music in your listening collection, aside from familiar standbys like Richard D. James and Luke Vibert, well, brace for a double dose of salvation. “Acid Futures”, a colossal two-disc compilation from The Centrifuge, a UK-based electronic arts collective, will go a long way toward satisfying the full spectrum of cravings for die-hard acid lovers and the acid curious alike. Together these two volumes contain 32 tracks from practically as many artists, spanning just about every style this broad but distinctive genre has to offer, from classic analog stuff to dark twisters and braindance frolics.
“Acid Futures” launches its trip anthology with the sticky and hypnotic “Non-Fiction” by Cane, where the mellow but pulsing deep bass breaks and voice sample do well in setting the proper atmosphere. Herv’s “Northern Soulless” follows later with epic abstract drum’n’bass cut with 4/4 passages and glitched-out interrupts – dense future-tech at its best. Scrubber Fox has the late-‘90s Cologne-style acid covered with “Futurestrasse”, its slow and wormy breaks burrowing ever deeper, while the electro side of things gets respectable treatment in the bass groove of Myoptik’s “Acid Combing” and the synthpop feel and old school loops of “This is Life” by Robot for Brains.
The tweaked and varied goodness continues on the second disc, where Roy of the Ravers kicks off with Vibert-style acid house on “Acid Hors D’Oeuvre”, while The Doubtful Guest’s “180 Bassup”, a rough drum’n’bass killer, delivers hard acid drops and paranoia in spades. Odan’s “Trade Union Acid” lays down a stuttering IDM snare with warm tones and rich mid-range acid noodling – altogether brilliant and fast-paced with an increasing sense of chaos. Similarly, Rival Consoles shares “Agenda”, a chunky and nervous IDM-style track with sharp snare and bass hits. In contrast, 5k3k51 offers “Workq Kernteturn518”, a journey in cold, throbbing bass and whispering hi-hats with percolating background elements. A personal favorite, “Graffiti”, by Phlex, takes rhythms into a funky tribal style – acid-laced technoid. Also not to be missed, Exillon takes its turn in representing the harder industrial/techno tastes with “SWA1”, where plenty of subversive acid warping is at play.
From baroque labyrinths (lose yourself) to unhinged stompers (commit yourself) and everything in between, “Acid Futures” presents an admirable guide to the acid aesthetic, along with all the brain malfunction that entails. With this in hand, listeners can feel confident forging ahead through the squiggling lines of retro acid, plunging into forbidding dissonant acid and ricocheting between plush pillows of bouncy acid. Besides offering a tribute of sorts to the legacy of the Roland TB-303, the compilation represents a comprehensive look at the contemporary acid scene. The diversity here is stunning – dose for a journey through acid like no other.
— Dutton Hauhart