Various Artists
Plastic Volume 1

Delta 9 Plastic's accomplished debut album keeps one eye firmly on the dancefloor but is refreshingly diverse.

By Benjamin Lehmann

 
Delta 9 Plastics is a nation-wide collective of producers, purveyors of UK bass, breakcore, acid jungle and anything that falls under the banner of 'proper electro'. The collective originated in Nottigham and has since expanded its operational base to include an HQ in sunny Hackney. The website is a well-known source of information for the electro community, with up-to-the-wire event listings and sets to download from assorted DJs. Plastic Volume 1 is the first of (I hope) a series of limited edition compilations featuring artists from the Delta 9 collective.

Diversity is not a word often associated with dance music compilations, but Delta 9 have succeeded in putting together music influenced by a huge range of sounds. Take Aim + Fire for example, the work of Escapologists' bassist line (Neil Wells): it finds common ground for tough UK bass riddims and the new wave vocals of a cold war veteran. The fluid beauty of Posthuman's intro to Freakydick develops into a huge jungle roller, with a squelching bassline reminiscent of labels like Trouble On Vinyl in their infancy. Scene veteran Paul Blackford's contribution is on a similar dancefloor/bassline tip. On the other hand, there is the work of Stone3, which layers brooding jazz guitar over slow ride cymbals and Hammond-like synths. The results are as close to The Doors as to anything more recent. For me the most succesful track on the album comes from Australian producer Bloq. Encountered by Delta 9 travelling in the UK, Bloq has now unfortunately relocated back down under. His track I Want To Break With You starts unremarkably, with upfront electro breaks and roomy acid bass. gradually layering FM chimes and stabs he slows the track down to a truly ambient pace, and a sublime breakdown, before building back into the tough rhythms of the intro.

Jungle and drum and bass were unique in outwardly acknowledging influence from every musical genre, with one eye fixed firmly on the dancefloor. This spirit of futuristic multiplicity lives on in the electro of labels like Delta 9 today, but with a more knowing attitude: like the work of Milanese, Plastic Volume 1 is for dancefloors, but also about dancefloors, a comment on the dance music of the past two decades. It's rare for an un-mixed electronic compilation to make such compelling listening.
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