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Album of the Week: I-Robots present We Are Opilec

Music from a label that likes Krautrock as much as techno.

Artist: Various Artists
Album: I-Robots present We Are Opilec...!
Label: Opilec Music Italy
Release Date: 06/02/2012

Unusually for an imprint compilation this outing from one of Italy's most unexpected labels is also part history lesson. Referencing some of the finest genres that have collided in order to create this fusion we call electronic dance music it's a truly remarkable collection.

We Are Opilec is the work of the eponymous imprint's bossman, I-Robots, AKA Gianluca Pandullo, a chap who clearly knows a thing or two about the zeitgeist of club sounds. Because, despite the staggeringly eclectic influences abound here, that which cannot have fingers put on it yet still manages to supply progressive with prog, techno with tech, and, er, electro with es, is immediately evident from the album's outset.

And what an outset it is. The double unmixed release kicks off with Last Call, by often overlooked but geekily revered house-disco pioneers No More Klein & Mbo. Thinking Rob Bright, the filthier end of Chicken Lips, or Luke Solomon at his most stepping, with a dominant guitar hook and huge synth line, will put you in the right aural ballpark.

Next we're treated to not just the greatest track on Opilec, but one of the finest electro-indie bombshells anyone's likely to hear, ever. Todd Terje's re-edit of The Units' High Pressure Days deserves to be known by everyone, and is easily capable of tearing any the roof off anywhere.

Some will have heard this before- it appeared on a remix album of The Units last year (also on Opilec), and clearly stood out then too. It's big, proud, has an almighty retro beat, looped keyboard hook, immediately compelling chorus, and timely key change crescendos that could be described as noise rock with Moogs (the band were regarded as ‘keyboard punk' during their 1970s hey day).

Those two tracks alone provide reason enough to invest, but thankfully the remainder of Disc One takes us on further worthwhile, often experimental electro tips, delivering Close Encounters style arrangements Steve Reich would be proud of (O13's Lost Pavilion for example). There's also an organ-house reworking of Georgio Moroder's seminal E=MC2 (from I-Robots himself), and Musiccargo's sublime, cinematic post-punk-cum-dream pop take on Kosmische from Nemesi.

In contrast Disc Two is noticeably ‘clubbier', though no less impressive. Federico Gandin's dubby acid house is set to a wonderfully sluggish rhythm on Legion of Lost Dreams, a sure fire understated dancefloor-killer. I-Robots vs Pistoi's rolling Congo Madness has meaty low ends, pounding kick drums, and an echoed synth line to rival the best proggy builder. And Orlando Voorn's experiment with future bass sounds- Revolution- is also worth a nod.

Meanwhile, the closing triptych of Stefny Winter, Danny Ocean, and Patrick De Stefano leaves us on an intricate, disjointed and off-tempo techno vibe that sounds like Robag Wruhme in an uplifting mood. A surprisingly logical end to an album that seems random at first glance, but which is actually programmed intelligently so as to employ its many curveballs perfectly, the result is a collection of music that proves to be equally engaging as a complete body of work as it is educational.

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