When the sub-genre tech-house was just an annoying thought at the bottom of a London music journalist’s beer glass Octave One were well into making that type of music. This 16-track CD retrospective traces their considerable progress from 1990 to their most recent offering, “Daystar Rising,” and shows that they are truly masters of the minimal techno idiom, as they utilize textural and rhythmic dynamics that most producers can only dream of. Check tracks like “Eniac,” “Point Black” and “And All That Remains” for true definitions of machine funk.
The comp takes you right back to 1990 and their spellbinding “I Believe,” a firm favorite with hardcore Detroit aficionados and big name djs like Sasha alike. This tune has 15-year-old Lisa Newberry extol the virtues of eternal love over a deep, lush, resonating track recorded using gear they blagged from Detroit neighbors Was Not Was. Also included is the lush, chorded tech of “Nicolette” from 1991’s ‘Octivation EP.’ As minimal as their music is, it is truly imbued with a warmth, and an atmospheric and innate sense of funk that will keep tracks like this on the ones and twos for years to come. The closer, “The Edge Of Nowhere” shows a direction that minimal techno will hopefully take, indicating that both techno and house have lessons to learn from drum ‘n’ bass. Invest in this highly enjoyable journey into the core of modern dance floor music. Chris Orr