"Balandine" by Âme


(Sonar Kollektiv)

One of the biggest techno anthems of 2006 was Âme's "Rej," which was originally issued in September 2005 but took a bit to gain traction. That's easy to understand: "Rej" sneaks up on you; it's just typical enough to blend into its surroundings the first time through before sounding like a classic by the fifth. Two things from "Rej" are repeated on Âme's new A side: the little electro-blurts, like rocket ships puttering to Earth, that signal when the intensity is going to ratchet up a notch; and the gradual feel, the difference being that this time, instead of a clear glide with glistening peaks, "Balandine" revels in sonic dirt. It takes four minutes (of eleven) for the high hats to stop messing around and start stuttering toward a climax, whereupon the 303 begins unfurling in longer stretches, turning it from a track that hints at acid to one wallowing in it, though it never completely freaks out. As the peak rolls around, a rough, commanding voice implores, "If any of you could just go back/If you can do that all over again." No trouble at all, though you might need a break before restarting it.

"Screaming Hands (Wink Interpretation and Cosmo Vitelli Radioaktivitat Remix)" by Radio Slave


Speaking of acid, this track gets two fine treatments in the style. Vitelli's seethes and rolls, its machine growls running underneath in perpetual boil, but it's Josh Wink who shines brightest. Wink helped define mid-'90s acid, especially on 1995's "Higher State of Consciousness"; here he reprises that record's momentum if not speed, not to mention its rolling snares and the way its 303 b-line warped everything in its path.

"Mr. Decay (Robert Babicz Remix)" and "Beautiful Life (Gui Boratto and Sascha Funke Remixes)" by Gui Boratto

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My favorite dance track of 2006 was Gui Boratto's "Like You (Supermayer Mix)," and the pellucid tones and melodies of the Brazilian producer's winter release Chromophobia would seem to be surefire putty in the right sets of outside hands. This is strong material, and the less structural reworking done to it on the two Chromophobia remix 12-inches out so far, the better, as the Field's dispiritingly flat overhaul of "Hera" demonstrates. But A-B the album's "Mr. Decay" against Robert Babicz's cool electro-jolt injections and you can hear the tune pop to life. And while neither Sascha Funke nor Boratto's own revision of "Beautiful Life" touch the brilliant original, they amp the bass to appealingly opposite ends: Funke for a hypno-drone rush, Boratto for a dawn-over-the-horizon comedown. recommended