Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Vinyl and Digital reviews: Traversable Wormhole

Artist: Traversable Wormhole 
Title: ‘Traversable Wormhole Vol 01-05’ 
Label: CLR

This review isn’t here to lay any fresh critique – everything that can be said about the Traversable Wormhole series, first released in 2009 and re-released in 2010, has already been stated, and in positive volumes across the techno community. What it does review is the full-length digital album of Volumes 1-5, collected together with two remixes and two DJ mixes - just in case you were worried that it wouldn’t fill three hours.

First; the new material. ‘The Originals’ is a 68 minute mix by Adam X aka TW which, funnily enough, is a seamless mix of the original five releases – it just needs some serious mood lighting and steely-faced dancers and the scene will be completely set! An industrial, clanking and dark mix, yet it sounds quite low-key – the kick drum punches to the stomach are subtle and there’s a sense of poignancy hearing it as one winding journey.

There’s not much room to pause as another 71 mins of TW make their announcements courtesy of Chris Liebing, this time sewing together ‘The Remixes’. Featuring re-takes by the likes of Peter Van Hoesen, Function and Sleeparchive, it keeps a relatively similar flavour with a tweaked batch of material. Disappointingly, there isn’t a chance on this release to hear all the remixes as individual pieces and truly explore them, instead the mix acts as a tantalising teaser for the upcoming Remixes collection, also starring Monoloc, Tommy Four Seven, Brian Sanhaji, Surgeon, Marcel Dettman, Terence Fixmer, and James Ruskin.*

What you do get at the end of this LP is a toe dip, with two remixes from Chris Liebing and Kevin Gorman. Liebing takes ‘Where 2D Meets 3D’; the original track instantly transported me back to a powerful Adam X gig after the G8 marches – it encapsulates the sound of riled protest vibes with deep influences and the sounds of metal doors being kicked and slammed. Therapeutic bowel-shaking techno with slick production! The remix seems to dull down the ferocity but builds it back up in a minimal style with clean-sounding bass kicks for those who like their edges a little rounded. The original ‘Relativistic Time Dilation’ goes heavy on the reverb and decay, and is delightful for inspiring visions of uprising robots - you can taste the metal twang. Part of me gets the feeling that Adam X sought to align his sound with the Berlin dominance of techno, and as part of that shed some of the rougher elements of his style and sometimes ‘lairier’ feeling - perhaps reflecting a very real passage of time and growth for Adam. But enough wistful ponderings and on to Kevin Gorman’s remix; he goes deeper and lashes on a minimal restraint, inducing a shuffly texture to the beats, and what I like to call ‘velcro techno’ – the sound of fabric tears, or perhaps that is the sound of time splitting in a ‘Relatavistic’ manner.

This digital album version will be great for digital DJs, but vinyl enthusiasts will need to work that little bit harder for the full collection! Nevertheless, if you didn’t get your hands on the underground phenomenon of last year, this is an excellent catch-up and taste of what’s to come.

*Something to note however is that it’s not clear whether ‘The Remixes’ mix involves the aforementioned artists or remixes by Chris Liebing and Adam X.

Release Date: December 6th 2010

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