This latest 12” EP ‘Balkan Vinyl Allstars’ offers up the London-based Balkan Vinyl label’s 25th release, and as the title suggests, it sees them collecting together six tracks from their backcatalogue that are either now rare or previously unreleased on vinyl, from a truly stellar cast of predominantly UK-based artists.Throughout, the focus falls firmly upon acid in all of its forms, with a squelching 303 line never far from the surface.
What particularly adds to the sense of nostalgia for classic warehouse party days that’s generated here, is the knowledge that two of the seminal scene figures featured here have now left us. Perhaps most poignantly, LFO’s ‘I Love Acid’ offers up the last track that Mark Bell ever released, taking things off on a hypnotically spinning ride through stomping house kickdrums and cycling layers of filtered acid 303 squiggles, the shuffling hi-hats that lock in halfway adding a gliding feel as chaotic layers of analogue bleeps blare away in the background.
On ‘Heaven And Hell’, the sadly similarly departed Andreas Gehm meanwhile opts for a moody wander through dry-sounding tech-house rhythms and sheeny pitch-bent synth trails as a warm analogue bassline undulates beneath, the delay-treated handclaps fading away into the distance, in what’s easily one of the more nocturnal-sounding offerings here.
Elsewhere, Plaid’s ‘Hui’ takes things off into crystalline IDM that meld’s the duo’s trademark melodically intricate arrangements with a surprisingly hefty backbeat, before ‘Artificial Intelligence’ series veterans B12 take things out into spacious ambient-kissed electro with the cold and eerie rhythms of ‘Proximity’. As you’d expect given the cast of artists involved, ‘Balkan Vinyl Allstars’ is excellent from start to finish.