Various Artists Midnight Manual Midnight Shift
Marking five years for the Singapore-via-Berlin techno label Midnight Shift, the Midnight Manual compilation gets off to a strong start. Continuing his Midas touch into 2018, Hodge’s collaboration with fellow techno disrupter Gramrcy (Barnohl) manages to be both thundering and delicate at the same time, with a gently gibbering vocal hook sitting loftily atop a muffled bass kick and a sporadic disco sheen.
The next track, by Knuttson Berg, adopts a Livity Sound-style stance, somewhere excellent between breakbeat and techno. But there’s nothing quite as striking as the opening two tracks in the rest of the collection. Mark Forshaw’s acid-plated Power Grab is a wide-eyed, frenetic, but workaday contribution. The Hacker’s pseudonymous contribution as Amato is also a little underwhelming. The messily mesmerising Turbine by Thermocline gets things back on track, sharing with Hodge and Gramrcy’s opener an enjoyably demented take on the techno template. But the gloriously monikered Terry Lamboughini (another artist in disguise – this time Glaswegian producer Marco Bernardi) fails to sign the collection off in style, his wobble-step rhythm sounding a raucous but ultimately throwaway note at the album’s conclusion.
There’s nothing approaching terrible on this compilation, but for a commemorative release there should be no filler – and too many tracks on Midnight Manual drift by.