Here it is, the new year. 2022. Some day I want to end a year with sadness and not with relief. To close a year that was so good that I don’t want to leave it behind. Wouldn’t that be something? Maybe this will be the one. Naturally, it mainly depends on me, virus or no virus. I don’t think that the pandemic is what kept 2021 from being a year that I would rather have continued for a little while longer. It just wasn’t a good one.
Not all was bad, though. Some really good things happened as well – and this compilation is one of these things. The reason is simple – it’s the first time a piece of music that I created has been published. To me that’s a huge achievement. Like building a house is a big thing for some people. This is my equivalent.
I promised myself that I will do more of that in 2022. More music. Now that my first piece is out there I know how much happiness it creates. And I definitely need to speed up my writing here. I haven’t even completed the first 100 yet – and when I looked at my Discogs data yesterday I saw that 2021 brought exactly 97 new additions to the collection (and that’s probably a new low – thanks, Corona…).
It started with Kruangbin’s wonderfully eccentric LateNightTales selection and ended with this compilation. Frozen – Purple. It’s the third part of a truly impressive three piece series, Frozen, with the first two being Orange and Yellow. All in all the series includes no less than 75 tracks contributed by plenty of talented artists – some of them first timers (like me) and some of them Dub Techno veterans with releases on (net)labels such as Apnea, Diametral, Kopoc, just to name a few.
Talking of which: the label. It’s a netlabel called Insectorama that was founded a good 15 years ago in Leipzig (Germany) by Markus Masuhr. Since then, the label has put out a really respectable 120 releases, mostly focusing on Dub Techno with some excursions to neighboring fields such as Deep Techno and Ambient.
This is 120_3, and as with other major Insectorama releases, this digital release is accompanied by a super limited CD edition (just 35 were manufactured). Needless to say that I had to get one or two of them… Sold out in no time of course. The files can be downloaded for a price that you define yourself – whether you want to get them for free or pay a little something is entirely up to you.
So what does the label have to offer, being strictly non-commercial and letting people get their digital releases basically for free? Well, first of all, if Insectorama didn’t have quality Dub Techno to offer, they wouldn’t have made it to way more than a hundred releases. Not even if all of them are for free. Secondly, Masuhr does have a good hand at picking tracks that really deserve publication (and no, I didn’t really think that my own piece would have been good enough).
The physical release of “Frozen – Purple” is spread over three CDs with a total playing time of 3 hours and 36 minutes. 33 tracks by 30 artists – and unless you are deeply fascinated by the independent Dub Techno scene you probably won’t know many of their names.
With this much music it’s not much of a surprise that the range of styles is wide – on one end of the spectrum there’s Lotech/Hijack’s Ambient intro “Detached”, Monophaze’s abstract excursion “Downsight” and LutchamaK’s dubby slow jam “Autumn in Dub”, on the other end you get 23.4’s Funk d’Void-esque “Her Favorite”, Davor Tosovic’s bouncy “Jupiter 9” and Orde107’s mix of straightforward beats, fat pads and big messages on “Global Warming (Warning Version)”.
A lot of what you can find between these two poles is located on the border of Deep House and Dub Techno or seems to have sprung from Tech House roots. Big floor ambitions, after hours bliss, slightly nerdy minimal tinkering and experimental eccentricities – “Frozen Purple” does one thing really well: showing just how multi-faceted this corner of Techno really is.
Am I happy to be part of this compilation? You bet. Will I spill the beans and tell you which of the 33 tracks is mine? Hell no. After more than 8900 records collected, “Frozen Purple” is the first one I played a role on. Let’s see how many I can add in 2022. Insectorama on the other hand had more than 35 releases in 2021. Judging from what can can be heard on this one I would say that there is plenty more to come. I read somewhere that they might even have their first vinyl release this year. Well deserved.
Release for review:
VARIOUS ARTISTS – FROZEN PURPLE – INSECTORAMA – INSECTORAMA120_3
Buy this release on the label’s Bandcamp site: Click