V/A UTurn 3 The Dark Side of the
By Marcus Pan
Artoffact cranking them out, this time a two-band mini-comp LP
featuring one Artoffact artist and one from a partnering label. A third in the
UTurn series, The Dark Side of the Beat features Blank, from
Artoffact, and Icon of Coils Sebastian Komor under the moniker Moonitor.
The idea behind the UTurn series is to provide top quality electro
specifically aimed to DJs in the industrial and EBM underground in the hopes of
injecting new bands into the growing electro culture. Artoffact, being well
known for the quality of their releases, should have no problems here.
Blank(1) takes the helm to kick off The Dark Side of the
Beat by providing their heavy-hitting blend of dance core electro and EBM.
Blank has just recently kicked out Artificial Breathing(2) on the
Artoffact label for us here in the States and Canada, and their set here on
UTurn 3 includes some remixes from this release. Dead End opens
right away with flashy synth overtones, robotic industrial stompage and your
expectantly high-speed rhythms. The Instrumental Club Mix of Mutant
Engine follows along in this same vein, but ups the bar with some seriously
slick keyboard programming breathing an easy-to-get-lost in trance element to
groove to for over seven minutes.
Three more tracks follow, two of which are remixes. One of
the top is the XTC-Mix of Afterburn by label mates Massiv in
Mensch(3). Afterburn was one of the tracks I covered in my Artificial
Breathing review: bubbles up into another enjoyable tune with
synth-based rhythms, concentrating on the upper end of the spectrum at first
before blowing into a full-on metallic dirge with amazingly catchy
orchestration. Massiv in Mensch take out much of the metallic dirge
qualities of Afterburn and keep it in the bubbly trance zone for the
sake of this club release. Blanks mastery at their craft is apparent, a
sign of years in the biz. Their entire section of UTurn 3 keep the BPMs
up near 150 for all of those fast paced stompers on the floors.
Moonitor side project of Seb Komor from Icon of Coil.
Throwing us five more tracks once Blanks done, Moonitor drops the BPMs
down a bit for the floaty/swirly crowd. While it remains upbeat insofar as
rhythm goes, the music takes a decidedly darker turn. Moonitor adds a lot of
background key floats to the mix, even taking a drum n bass over swirly
foggy synthwork type of style with tracks such as Skydiver. While dark, the
lower BPMs and effervescent keyboard work makes for a rather comfortable
atmosphere following the much stompier work by Blank.
Darkside of the Beat will even get a little
chant-like, and really turn up the dramatic darkness flair without losing its
swirly and effervescent style. The closing track on the album, Non Human
picks up with a slightly metal-laced slide, and brings me the only critical
opinion I can state about UTurn 3. Skydiver or Darkside of the
Beat would have been better to wind down the compilation, and Non
Human would have been better near the center as it does tend to hit the
riffs slightly harder than the others. Nonetheless a fine track.
Being unfortunately unfamiliar with the previous two
UTurn releases by Artoffact, I can say Id expect them to be
nothing less than superb. UTurn 3 The Dark Side of the Beat pumps
up the dancefloor hits and then winds you down comfortably, Blank and Moonitor
complementing each other very well. Released in a slimline case specifically
for DJ use in club rotation, theres some fine choices here for any
underground club to spin from the open-the-night slams of Dead End and
Data Gram by Blank to the shutting-it-down smoothness of Skydiver
and Darkside of the Beat from Moonitor.
(1) Interviewed in this
(2) Reviewed in this issue.
interviewed Massiv in Mensch back in Legends
Post: 1057 Steeles Ave. W., P.O. Box 81630, Toronto, Ontario, M2R 3X1,
Phone: (905) 707-6283
Click to Buy!