Combination Traffic: Various Steps has brought us all a lot of fun. We were surprised and a little bit proud to become so much response as far as the stylistic positioning in the compilation flood is concerned. Enough to motivate us to continue where we never stopped. This time in black and not in white!
As we all know, a lot of parallel worlds exist on the beautiful planet called Music. We have for example the world of the purists and that of the specialists. In both their worlds, the dictate of the Never-Heard-It-Like-This is the ultimate goal and command. They are always yearning ahead, looking forward, until the beginning of the road where they once started is not recognisable anymore. I could say it otherwise: normal outsider consumers are having a hard time to understand the degree of abstraction (f. e. drum & bass, minimal techno, etc.) that is so important to the actives. Some call it reference hell. The opposite in this case then, would be reference heaven. References to the past are not only excused here, but are actually even desirable. What happens is clear: with the confidence that music is always new, be given a free hand, without a higher control council that rubs in some kind of ban through ones` conscience, according to the motto: this string or this sample has already been used here and there, you cannot use it also. Would grand covers or mainstream pop music, jungle or Elvis ever have emerged without it?
As always there is not only one truth in this matter. There are two: one is a purist truth, one a mundane one. Progress is not always progressive and retro waves are only amusing on a short time basis. How still seems to be a decisive parameter. Because in the first place music is just beautiful! And that is exactly the theme of Traffic II: not losing the way back or ahead out of our eyesight, with the certainty that in and out of the club everything is still possible. The embracing of very different kind of musicians of contents that are exotic to the genre is a delight at this moment, because these musicians are not fooling around with long past faded feelings, but taking risks in the here and now. And we are not speaking about the bony avant-garde here, but about the courage to the un-cool, the breaking out of the conceptual prison.
For this, our label acts (Swimmingpool, Dadamnphreaknoizphunk, Fellmann & Louise, TGM and Telescope) and a few friends and acquaintances (Kabuki, Pentagon, Matt Flores) have to measure with and complete a well thought over selection of our favourite tracks of the past year.
To speak of broken beats, break beat, down beat, nu breaks or whatever step`nbass would be superfluous after what is said at the intro of this. The music speaks for itself. The pieces - this is what we imagine ourselves anyway - don`t care about the fact whether the beat is broken or not. How, when and how many times the bass drum is set in these tracks is always based upon a conscious decision and not done after a designed pattern. Of course, these tracks follow their own musical way of expression. Therefore, he compilation has to be seen and listened to as a whole. Futuristic experiments along the lines of conceptual music belong only very limited into Traffics world. Traffic II only whispers pop and should in any case be listened to on a high volume. Low volumes are for elevators.
Swimmingpool - Diver
The opening. The overture. We could not wish for a better one. One theme. One fragment. Besides, it proves, that you need to possess enough courage not to finish a piece completely so even more dimensions can be unfolded. As soon as this track reaches its zenith, it just stops. This is how Traffic II opens, to make anything possible for the tracks to follow.
Matt Flores - Pursuit of happiness
A new man with Combination, who substantiates the social aspect of Traffic. We have known Matz for some years and on some parties now. This track he especially composed for Traffic II, inspired by the first Traffic last year. With all his experience as a producer and MC in the drum & bass and 2-step (Gush Collective), he designed a flower for the floor that has not been heard before on vinyl. A true spring hit.
SCSI 9 - silkworme
The Russian Anton Kubikov, that beside his albums with Trapez /Traum releases also on other (mostly German) labels (Salo, Force Tracks, Freizeitglauben...) in the minimal sector, is a master of romantics. His melodies are taking their time to get woven to harmonies. Moscow spring and of on the bus to Cologne. Thanx.
Kabuki - Tempest
A brother. And probably the hottest man in the here and now in club music from break beat points of view. The way Kabuki plays his cords, throttling the tempo on a 140, not using a straight bass drum, building in Detroit, always kicking: only this man can do it at the moment. Reacts to drum & bass in the club, as Recloose to house.
Brothomstate - Adozenaday
On his EP Qtio (Warp), the Fin Lassi Nikko has hidden this little jewel of deepness in between 5 digital DSP abstract pieces. He probably also is somebody who still thinks he is making hip hop, but who has developed his own universe somehow. What was Boards Of Canada on the first Traffic, Brothomstates is on Traffic II. Thanx.
Aardvarck - Nozum (Attica Blues Rmx)
Deep Detroit electric soul with Tek 9-ish coolness. A hymn with many zeniths. A big surprise of Attica Blues on the wonderful Dutch Delsin-Label. Thanx.
TGM - Deep Below
After his Combination record, Heiner toured a euphoric club tour, tutored workshops for the Studio Software Reason in nearly every city and is now back in the studio. The album is like a 70 minute drum & bass cinema celluloid containing all his qualities. On Traffic II he plays quieter tones. Deep Below is dub without dub, echos are not included. Old school break beat flavour in a relaxed high tech format.
Fellmann & Louise - Chicken Sandwich
Fellmann & Louise never were so silly before. Sweeping (vegetarian) rare groove loop programming with a lot of commas and many breaks. Really sounds like wood! Finally snares again!
Norken - Northern Soul
Oh, Mr. Lee Norris! It is not that we have been following his road since only yesterday or since the first Traffic , where he was represented as Metamatics. His project as Norken has with the Springthemes album produced one of the most unconventional house/techno albums in the past few years. This man should always continue with his mission, let`s have him win the lottery.
Dadamnphreaknoizphunk - Dadamn Traffic
On some stages, we are distinguishing a true 303-revival. Dadamn can only shake their heads wearily. These guys never even thought of putting this grand old lady aside. Their fans have their 303`s autographed by them when they are touring as Hardfloor. The tunes are always produced in such thick a manner, that mastering is superfluous. High tech hip hop production standard with techno on the brain and Winnetou violins on the soul.
Pentagon - Spiderman
The Japanese Pentagon belong to the abovementioned purist gang. For Traffic, they wrote - together with Hanaus Master Kabuki - a dry minimalist drum & bass tunnel that will take you from England to Germany without wet feet. Or something like that, or so
Telescope feat. Noelle Poeller - Nobile
Telescope and Noelle Poeller already scored a small mini hit with Deeper on their first EP. Nobile rather wears the style of their freer easier break excursions. Noelle fits the vocals in and becomes an instrument. Different again, again surprising and a good ending
had a friend of the house not added a few notes to the theme Traffic II:
Mapstation "Car Distance"