Various Artists – Repeat (GasmanMusic)

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Bearing some fractal-centric psychedelic cover art so faithful to the era that it looks like it could have stepped straight out of 1991, this expansive new 2CD compilation ‘Repeat’ on UK electronic producer The Gasman’s own label offers up a tribute to the British independent dance music scene of the early nineties. For the 26 tracks collected here, The Gasman’s opted for an impressive selection of tracks both old and new from both emerging and veteran producers (many of the latter familiar faces from the original UK warehouse rave era).

Indeed, a quick glance at the tracklisting reveals the presence of quite a few Planet Mu and Rephlex-affiliated names, with µ-Ziq, Boxcutter, Wisp and Konx-om-Pax making appearances alongside scene legends Gez Varley (LFO), Humanoid (FSOL’s Barry Dougans) and Mark Archer (Altern-8). While there’s plenty of room for stylistic divergence between the various tracks, there’s an emphasis on acid 303 sounds, classic hardcore breakbeats and bright stabbing rave synths. Mark Archer’s ‘House In U’ lives up to the imagery set up by its title, sending trails of airy synths blurring against a sharp-focus backdrop of clicking 808 house rhythms and subtle traces of acid that carries a stray hint of post-Detroit atmosphere.

Chevron meanwhile opts for a more downbeat, breakbeat-laden feel on ‘Sunrise’ as squealing soul diva vocal samples get twisted and looped against a forest of rattling ‘Amen’ breaks and jittery minor-key synths, before Dobbo’s ‘Never Saw You In Hollywoods’ grafts an angular synth bassline onto stabbing rave hits, the second half of the track venturing down into a frantic electro-funk section laden with sped-up toytown samples that’s one of the biggest nostalgia hits here.

While there’s certainly an emphasis on classic rave sounds though, the more contemporary-sounding tracks on offer here also manage to inject some more unexpected angles, with Emma Catnip’s ‘Stay’ drops flickering vocal sample snippets over a backdrop of unpredictable time-stretched beats and soulful melodic keys, before Sacred Science’s ‘Power House’ ventures down into the heart of techno darkness as a spoken vocal gets filtered and contorted to eerie effect against dark throbbing synths and urgent alarm pulses. ‘Repeat’ is a consistently strong compilation that’s sure to trigger plenty of memories amongst the veteran ravers.

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