While he isn’t as well known as peers such as The Black Dog, B12 and Kirk Degiorgio, back in the early nineties, UK-based electronic producer Jason Adkins was responsible for some of the most compelling tracks released during the ‘Artificial Intelligence’ era, many of them released on his shortlived Metatone label, which operated through 1993-1994 before closing abruptly.
Twenty five years on, this sprawling compilation collects together Adkins’ production output on Metatone during those two years under his various aliases Electro Music Union, Sinoesin and Xonox, the original pressings of which now command steep prices on the collector market. While there’s a fair bit of stylistic bleed between the work that Adkins has released under his three respective aliases, there’s still plenty to differentiate them from one another.
As a general rule, Electro Music Union comes across as his most techno-oriented vehicle of choice, and while that outfit’s ‘Structures 1’ calls to mind Higher Intelligence Agency’s similarly pristine and twinkling ‘intelligent’ techno with its crystalline synth arpeggios and snapping breakbeats, it’s married to a curiously post-Detroit blurred out feel. Elsewhere, the pulsating ‘Electroshock Mountain’ sees the stiff robotic atmospheres taking control as pounding 4/4 kickdrums power beneath eerie coldwave synth pads and ricocheting snares, in an offering that sits far closer to Model 500’s spooky nocturnal glide.
By contrast, Sinoesin comes across as Adkins’ outlet for his deep electro explorations, with ‘Angels Of Altitude Part 1’ ushering in a robotic glide that counterpoints snapping sharp-focus downbeat drum machine grooves with lush ambient pads and juddering blocky bass sequences, while ‘Alternating Current’, released under his Xonox alias sets the controls for hi-energy trance-techno that sits far closer to the likes of Frank De Wulf or early Jam & Spoon as sparkling arpeggios pulse against rattling house snares and pounding rave kickdrums.
Given the grace with which these tracks have aged over the ensuing twenty five years, it’s surprising that Adkins’ name isn’t better known in IDM techno circles. Hopefully this excellent retrospective compilation goes a long way in addressing that situation.