Various: Cabinet Classics 1994-1998 & Cabinet Unreleased Classics 1994-2005

Plus 8, 2006

Berlin-based Cabinet Records have been issuing techno 12-inches for over ten years, but I’ve never tracked down any of their releases. Thankfully, Plus 8 compiled this sampler, available as a double CD or two double-LP sets (the latter with a slightly different tracklist).

On “Gliding,” Compass offers acid perfection. From quirky squelches to minimalist reverb, it’s a funky seven minutes. “Elwico” by Cab Drivers is straight-forward and housey, but it’s a bit too simple for me. “Arcade (Edit),” also by Cab Drivers, is heavier, but still quite minimal. Thankfully Horseshoe’s “Honey (Edit)” is another acid track. This one features a bendy bassline.

Continuing on with the first disc, Compass’ “Cab Driver” has some tasty syncopation, while “Citylights” shows he was making tech house before I’d ever heard the term. “Collage” by Horseshoe is hypnotic and deep, with ever-changing synths over a bubbly bassline. “Steam” by Cab Drivers is another highlight. Its warm, roving, nasal synth line reminds me of early Plastikman.

Though the tracks on the second disc were previously unreleased, they’re pretty good. “Bassfunk” by Horseshoe is basic analogue acid. Cab Drivers’ “Live at E-Werk” is percussive house with a great break-down. “Turbulenz” and “Acid Dream” by DJ Trike are both gritty, pure 303 funk.

This collection is deep, clubby, and incredibly DJ-friendly. While almost half of the tracks on the first disc are presented as edits, none of them feel cut short. Ritchie Hawtin obviously exchanged lots of ideas with these guys, so it’s only natural for him to bring these great rare tracks back into the spotlight.

4/5 stars

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