XDB - Inspiron (Dial Records)
Overview: XDB is Kosta Athanassiadis, a long-time veteran of the electronic music scene who dates back to the late 80's. With releases over the past 15 years on well-respected labels like Dial, Sistrum, Ferox, Verdant and others, Kosta is building a very solid discography of music.
Over a dozen releases to date and countless remixes, this is his first full length release and it's fitting it find a home at Dial records who he's had a long and productive relationship with. Coincidentally, Dial is celebrating its 20th anniversary in business. Inspiron is the long-player's title and its due for release this October.
The Music: a2: After a brief intro sets the stage, 'Moveya' breaks the anticipation with some heavy basslines that are a slick combination of old skool appeal and a new skool grit. The tension is still there lingering for a resolve till finally a snare comes in to give the track stability and direction. But the track still continues building finally to a remnant of a playful melody that gives you that conclusion you were seeking. The album is off to a solid start from here.
a3: 'Endo' rewards the listener after a busy and unusual drum pattern. Futuristic vibes morph itself out of the deep to give a surprisingly soulful sound throughout.
b1: 'Transitions' is unique in its slightly demented feel . Classic keys of an early 80s prototype sound balance a Detroit influenced feel to the point of being quite addictive. One of my favorites on this album. XBD reminds of Lawrence but a little more raw and less polished and not in a bad way.
b2: 'Lopak Robot Ocean' is the most straight forward track yet. That doesn't mean it isn't special at all but that it has more predictable ups and down. There is minimal house thing going on that reminds me of early 2000 music like Ware Records, Morris Audio or Spectral Sound. Adding a bit of funk to the party like a Jeff Samuel or Jackmate. The key to the track is the odd sounds and the surprising rise of an addictive, nearly jackin' groove. Clever, and I am sure would work well out in small club atmosphere..
c1: 'Dial Fonk' steps up the pace with the biggest floor filler on the album. Perhaps the most Detroit sounding so far, this screams class. A tracky house vibe with claps that work overtime to increase the presence of funk. A sure winner for the DJ's no doubt.
c2: 'Mystic AV' has a mechanical aspect to its rhythm that grows on you as it goes. Highly techy and a little un-nerving. Possibly a little challenging for someone to properly find the groove to dance to but the brain is certainly feeling it. My head is jiving to this machine funk no doubt. Pretty sick stuff.
d1: 'Desert Night' starts off the last side of the record. One of the most DJ friendly songs on here that builds an epic euphoric feel to it. The Detroit vibe is palpable. If there was a single for this album this might be it. Perfection.
d2: Finally, we have 'Ortago' to complete the album. The melody that finds itself thru the chords and beat is a beauty. This D-side is a fantastic way to end things on an extreme high example of the future of techno. This is on the level of a Carl Craig. It's that good.
Synapse: This album is unique in the feeling I can't fully settle on whether these tracks are more influenced by an older sound or so futuristic its they are hard to describe. It's almost like this album was made in the future sounding old skool for what isn't out yet. I know that sounds odd but generally in techno the influences are much more obvious to track the inspiration of the sound. This is more like a version of proto-techno and a bit of darkwave tinge in there to give the sound that edge. Listening to this album has a story few others could reach in one long player. A challenging listen but not to the point of it being a big commitment. It's equally deep and enjoyable. And with more listens they reveal themselves more instantly on familiarity. A very strong late-night album here and the production deserves high marks.
Rating: 86/100The Details: Artist: XDB Title: Inspiron Label: Dial Records Format: vinyl/ digital Catalog #: Released: October 23, 2020 Mastered: Jörn Elling Wuttke Cover Image: Nairy Baghramian Graphic Design: Till Sperrle Photographs: Robert S Kulisek Distribution: Kompakt (Physical) / Wordandsound (Digital) Contact: DIAL@DIAL-REC.DE