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Various Artists Bis Neunzehn

Areal proves that the sound of Cologne doesn't begin and end with the city's internationally recognized minimal techno chug. The label's second mixed compilation presents a dozen tracks from its core acts, slipping from Konfekt's gauzy dream states to Ada's emotion-overload click-house to Metope's post-trance wallop. The common denominator is a spangled acid touch that makes every bleep and bleating synthesizer line sparkle. Fans of Kompakt and Sub Static will inhale this eagerly, but the buzz is unpredictable, swinging from euphoria to melancholy in a few bars. Is it microhouse? Macrohouse? There are no obvious catch-alls for Areal's sound-just a monumental mass that recedes in the distance no matter how doggedly you pursue it.

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