Claro Intelecto: Warehouse Sessions Vol. 1-5

Modern Love, 2006-2008

Volume One

This new 12-inch from Claro Intelecto is a thick slab of Detroit/Berlin-style techno. “Thieves,” on the A-side, jumps right in with a hard, fast beat and pulses of bass. Filtered tones begin to chime, but the track remains minimal. The flip side’s called “New Dawn.” Its beats are even thicker, with a burbling bassline and dub syncopation. I could almost see this side on Chain Reaction. The cut gradually morphs through slow, subtle changes. Good stuff!

Volume Two

Hot on the heels of Volume One, here are two more punishing techno tracks from Mark Stewart. First up, “Trial & Error” is sparse and bleepy, with an inching bassline and a basic beat. On the flip is “Signals,” featuring more complex percussion including hi-hats and a clipped snare. The track builds with brooding intensity, like a superhero standing in the shadows. This 12-inch is finely honed dance perfection.

Volume Three

The third volume of Warehouse Sessions is just as great as the previous two. “X” starts out fairly minimal until sweeps of distortion kick in. It’s a heavy, rumbling track with unrelenting kick drums and a dub undertow. The B-side is “Only Yesterday,” a 45-RPM scorcher inspired by early house. Bass pads pan and wander over a basic beat. Nothing more develops, but this is still more than just a DJ tool. Mark Stewart’s creating an amazingly solid series of 12-inches here. I hope they eventually get a digital release—these explorations of classic techno may themselves become legendary.

Volume Four

On this volume Stewart seems to be branching out a bit. On “Instinct,” gongs, pops, and echoing bass play off each other all too briefly. The flip side, “Post,” features dry house beats and chords. It breaks down half-way through with a momentary change of beat and lovely, jazzy piano. Very nice.

5/5 stars

Volume Five

The fifth and final installment of Claro Intelecto’s long-running series (which is soon to be compiled on CD) is the most modern and minimal record of the bunch. “Hunt You Down” has some dub touches, with a Maurizio-esque bassline. The chords are sharp and stretched, like tangled Slinkies. “Momento” is a house/techno hybrid with stereo bells, old-school snares, and devastating bass. The track seems a bit basic for home listening, but it would be powerful on a club sound system. It’s an appropriate way to end a great set of DJ tools.

4/5 stars

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