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Album of the Week: Cocoon K

It’s always good when you’re surprised by something. Well, actually, it’s always good when you’re surprised by something non-threatening.

Artist: Various
Album: Cocoon K
Label: Cocoon Recordings
Release Date: 18/07/2011

Pedantry aside where music is concerned a sideways suckerpunch usually comes quite welcome. And that point is compounded when the sounds in question are electronic and club focused, but the release is not necessarily going to be consumed by the inhabitants of darkened dancefloors alone. Basically it's better to be less than predictable.

That can be said, to an extent, of this latest in Cocoon's annual flagship compilation series. Of course there is techno here, being Sven Vath's camp that really should go without saying. But while last year's instalment (J) opted to move away from the housier sound that was an abiding memory of the 2009 edition, this time round there's a little bit of everything, and variety in spades. Better yet, it all makes sense.

Which isn't to say the contents play out like a mix sans meld. There's no journey here, but as individual tracks separated by a two second wall nothing sounds out of place, while little falls foul of experienced ears. The baritone male vocals of Matt John's The Blue Storm nod to a severity that simply doesn't exist in a track that's bouncy and shares a resemblance with Music For Freaks, albeit meatier.

And Sascha Dive's excellent New Frontiers comes on like some pulsating, rhythmic workout that refuses to take genre-defined sides. There's a four four somewhere under that bassline, but the pulsating low end, and ongoing spoken word sample are far more prominent, nodding to the broken stylings of Tyrant in a brooding, building, drummy way. Neither are that closely related to Lovin, a warm, straight up vocal house number from Dinky that's set to a disco tempo.

If deep and groovy get covered then toughness is also here in spades. There's the sluggish punch of the bass-led Icon, Christian Burkhardt & Einzelkind's stripped tech workout of pure sledgehammer kicks and metallic percussion. And Argy veritably kicks it out in the aptly titled The Thrust, opening with propellant drums and lashing cymbals the relentlessness continues through acidic accents, a faint organ melody, a whole host of lyrical flairs and frantic hook, suggesting 2am in full flow. Whether you're a fan of the world's biggest techno label or not, there's no denying this is one compilation for which brand loyalty isn't a caveat for enjoyment.

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