Last October, Rapster Records released the latest edition of its illustrious "Kings of..." series. Following in the footsteps of Laurent Garnier and Carl Craig who mixed the previous edition named "The Kings of Techno", Playgroup (aka Trevor Jackson) and Alter Ego have the opportunity to present their views on respectively electro from the good ol' times and contemporary electro.
Rather than making a mix containing well-known classics, Playgroup has carefully selected obscure tracks that were ahead of their time, such as opener "This is Me" by Chris & Cosey (I know, who?).With its banging synth sound and oppressed vocals, they sound kind of like a pre-21st century version of Fischerspooner. What makes Playgroup such a unique artist is that he finds the perfect balance between bodyrockers, such as "Report to the Dancefloor" (what's in a name?) by Energize, and more relaxing tunes, all poured into a solid entity.
Albeit the fact that Alter Ego's CD is entitled "the Present", Roman Flügel and Jörn Elling Wuttke refused to insert current electro hits by the likes of Justice, Boys Noize and other Tigas into their mix. Instead, they opted to offer us a reduced history of techno, presenting tracks by amongst others Daniel Bell, Robert Hood, Acid Jesus (aka Dopplereffekt and Alter Ego themselves) and the master himself, Richie Hawtin under his Plastikman pseudonym.
This mix offers a delightful trip into long forgotten gems and doesn't only want to make you party, it also makes you think about how indebted current artists are to the pioneers of the genre. "The Kings of Electro" has broadened my view on the genre I love so dearly and when I come to think of it, not a great deal of compilations manage to pull that off and get away with it like Playgroup and Alter Ego do.