Various Artists Musik For Autobahns 2 Rush Hour
As commercial deep house continues to plough headlong into aesthetic irrelevance, DJs seek different sounds. The reverb-laden but glassy, atmospheric and melodic strains of krautrock and kosmische have long inspired club music producers (ambient house being an obvious descendant), but there have been few self-con-sciously ‘retro’ allusions. In 2013, Gerd Janson released Musik For Autobahns, a compilation of new productions that drew on these genres, and organised it around the theme of driving.
This second iteration follows a similar template, and Janson has enlisted massive support – Bicep, Joy Orbison, Lauer, and so on. It’s all pretty solid, but a couple of tracks stand out. AKSK’s Breaking, for example, retains just enough machine funk to balance the woozy Grimes-style vocals, and Disco Nihilist’s Melancholy, while not being very ‘melancholic’ in the ‘gloomy’ sense, is soothing and introspective. Fort Romeau’s Seleno is the sort of thing that should have soundtracked the Tron remake, and Joy’s A213 is by the far best mimesis of a South London road you’ll hear in 2015.
But it occasionally slides into silly pastiche. Conga North’s 162 North combines schmaltz and plod in a way few will appreciate, and Shan’s Awakening sounds like Basic Channel Does Xmas, dub synths in unholy matrimony with twinkly Ableton presets. Mass culture is often depressingly derivative these days, and sometimes this compilation echoes those broader tendencies. For the most part, however, it doesn’t, and these producers seem to understand that past music should inspire and provoke rather than provide a blue-print for whatever comes next