Various Artists – “01010100 Charity Compilation” (01010100 Records) [December 24, 2021]

01010100 Records’ latest compilation features a solid selection of heavy industrial and breakbeat-focused experiments. It also serves as a charity to help those most affected by the pandemic in Berlin as they try to survive the harsh and unrelenting German winter.

It is facile to say “Covid has impacted us all,” because the reality is that it has ruined some lives and made others a lot of money. For those already facing financial uncertainties, the pandemic further drained the last of their reserves, leaving them broke, desperate, and often homeless.  For those already experiencing homelessness, the closing of once-vital public indoor spaces like coffee shops or indoor malls that were used for a bit of warmth and shelter has been a devastating blow. Many are left with no respite from the brutal winter experienced in Germany, lacking warm clothes or a hot meal. The organization “Kältebusse Stuttgart & Berlin” helps people to survive winter. All proceeds of this release will be donated to this crucial effort.

Relatively new, the label “01010100” was founded in 2017 by Achat with a focus on the more experimental, darker side of techno. This latest charity EP is an excellent showcase of those styles, and the mostly fresh faces represented have calibrated a cohesive vibe.

Choppy kicks fire off frenetically in the opener alongside heavily machined, big factory sounds. The second track, “Lushes Honey”, is a complete 180 into groovy, house-inspired techno bliss.  Bright and jazzy saxophone riffs illuminate rapid drum patterning. The next movement, “Think Less Feel More,” consists of curiously built, breakbeat tracks that feel simultaneously industrial-heavy and gossamer; music in conversation with itself, made more interesting by contrast. A lot of the techno is structured into classic four-bar loops, but many of these tracks are programmed into repeating segments that require much longer to unfold,  revealing undergirding patterns. The kicks comprising the complex breakbeat arrangement in “Mixed Emotions” are massive and garrulous. “Chaos Walking” contains all the primal wails, gnashing, and groaning of strained metal as well as the smooth cascades and mechanistic percussion of a fresh, cerebral style of dystopian techno. This kind of music finds huge reserves of energy in the furthest reaches of the underground.

It’s easy to imagine bodies undulating wildly, generating waves of lifesaving body heat, perhaps intense enough to radiate outward. Helping our neighbors in the cold, the heat of the techno party literally transforms into vital warmth everytime you purchase this EP (price at your discretion). These tracks are machine-talk and the symphony of industry.

The album closes with “Healing Ground”, a wallop of rave energy driven by oversaturated kicks and narrative movements of synthesis that build toward catharsis—victory snatched from the jaws of certain defeat and the kind of victory we all hope for in the endless fight against inequality and senseless poverty.  These are solid tracks, well worth buying on their own merit, and worth the price of admission for that reason alone.

– Winston Mann

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