Shades Marc Romboy Systematic Recordings
WHILE some Germans bemoan their country’s allure for producers of electronic music, it’s an attraction easier to understand when one considers the influence Germany has had. Marc Romboy can take much credit. The techno producer continues to thrive more than 20 years after establishing Le Petit Prince, his first label, and emerging as a DJ in Dusseldorf.
Shades — part-retrospective, part-upfront indulgence — checks many of those Detroit techno and Chicago house influences, but at three CDs and 32 tracks it’s a lot to take in. Missing is the consistency showcased on Taiyo, last year’s futuristic release produced with Japan’s Ken Ishii. Shades instead lurches from mellow, minimal and groovy to thumping, glitchy, dark and downright weird. Classic tunes such as Eurasia, his 2007 release with Brazilian producer Gui Boratto, will please, as will In My Mind, a standout on Romboy’s 2006 debut LP
Gemini and which features the vocals of Chicago veteran Robert Owens. Nine more recent tunes also feature, including Delusion of the Enemy, his collaboration with Bulgarian KiNK, as well as bumpy remixes including a dark interpretation of Detroit Grand Puhbahs’ 2000 hit
Sandwiches. His description of disc three as being full of “noise, machine rhythms and crazy sounds” is apt. There’s little of the soulful grooves of the first two discs. Instead Romboy opts for industrial soundscapes, bizarre offerings such as The Noise, with Kris Wadsworth, and other underwhelming tunes. While no one can dispute Romboy’s talent,
Shades is a three-disc release that would be better condensed into two.