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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Kevin Saunderson
History Elevate

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

June 10, 2009
Having spent over two decades as one of Detroit's holy techno trinity (Juan Atkins and Derrick May being the other two), Kevin Saunderson is justified in releasing History Elevate, an epic 2-disc set that flaunts both his hallowed remixes over the past 20 years and original productions that have been reworked by established peers and up-and-comers.

The first half of disc 1 serves as a nostalgic trip back to the late 80's techno revolution that Saunderson helped usher in. The Motor City innovator immediately revisits '88 by splicing a "Blue Monday"-esque keyboard line and a breezy house backbone into The Christians' "The Bottle" before segueing into Wee Papa Girl Rappers' "Heat It Up", his first ever remix and one where he fuses acid house with the Girls' ESG-like vocal delivery. But after his frenetic, hi-energy take on Pet Shop Boys' "Go West"-a seemingly daunting task considering the utter flamboyance of the original-Saunderson fast-forwards to his more current works which find the DJ engaging in darker, deeper house excursions. Current hot artists like the Presets and Hercules and Love Affair get the Detroit dancefloor treatment, which from Saunderson's perspective includes pulsating, yet muted beats, throbbing textures and lush synth tremors.

Under the veteran's capable hands, the transition between practically two eras of dance music sounds effortless, which could mean one of two things: either clubland hasn't evolved much or Saunderson has pulled a sonic sleight-of-hand and deftly bridged the generational gap. I'm going to have to go with the latter because if disc two proves anything, the artist's influence on the techno scene has crossed over to current acts like Simian Mobile Disco. The English production team serves up a blistering, sweaty rework of "Big Fun", one of several tracks from Inner City, Saunderson's project with longtime cohort Paris Grey. Fellow techno pioneer Carl Craig quickly follows up the festivities with his version of Inner City's "Till We Meet Again," a hypnotic robo-disco anthem that should have your synapses working overtime.

While Saunderson's earlier moments on History Elevate have aged in varying degrees, the overall effort is a hearty exercise through techno's past and present. Whether you're longing to revisit the dawn of rave culture or simply seeking a refresher course, you'll likely find a satisfying space in between thanks to one of its most hallowed institutions.

Reviewed by Kiran Aditham
When not contributing to LAS and other music/film publications, Kiran Aditham toils away during the day in Manhattan as a reporter for an advertising magazine…though he’d rather not say which one.

See other reviews by Kiran Aditham



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