Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Various Artists: 2Rabimmel 2Rabammel 2Rabum 2Bum Bum

The knock against techno repetition misses the point that repetition is an active process. Musical phrases rarely sound the same after being repeated more than a few times, and accounting for the magisterial power of minor differences calls for more than mere trancing out to loops left to transpire on their own time.


The artists on 2Rabimmel 2Rabammel 2Rabum 2Bum Bum make it easy to engage with fitful repetition, by throwing up roadblocks and flashing detour signs. It can be hard to hear the kinds of subtle disparities between drum-sound angles and phased melodies that make techno fans swoon, but it's easy when a track literally screams to a stop and then rebuilds itself into something related but entirely new. That's what happens all across 2Rabimmel, an invigorating compilation that lifts Areal Records up to the totemic heights of fellow German label Kompakt.

Circling the now-sound known as "electro-house," the Areal roster makes a game of embedding fugue-like breakdowns and musically elaborate swerves into banging anthems that would seem to resist such flourishes. Starter tracks by Basteroid and Metope add and subtract new parts—woozy synth spins, angry tambourines, backward tape splices—so often that it's hard to tell where the core direction ends and the fanciful digression begins. Some of it can sound severe and distended; noisy stormers by Konfekt and Ha.Te prove exciting for the ways they teeter on the raw edge of comprehensible grooves. The end effect, though, suggests techno taking a long, hard look at where it might go in the future. If that future could sound anything like the choked, twittering mania of Basteroid's "Rabimmel" or the fiendishly angelic swirl of Ada's "Bum Bum," the techno world would be wise to play into Areal's hand early.

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