Boomkat Product Review:
30 years since their Planet E debut, cult entity The Connection Machine issue an expanded edition of the ‘Black Hole EP’, augmented by cuts from two 12”s released by Tabernacle, a couple of archival exclusives, and a deep, pumping Legowelt remix.
Utterly beloved around our way for their peerless album, ‘Painless’, which was recored in the ‘90s but not issued until 2004, Jeroen Brandjes & Natasja Hagemeier, aka The Connection Machine, are emblematic of the dialogue between early Detroit techno, house, and beatdown, and deeper elements of The Netherlands’ ‘90s club sound. ‘BlackHole+’ is a completist dream for fans of their heady sound, retro-activating their classic style in a richly satisfying 11-track album surely set to cushion bodies on the transition from the dancefloor to the afters, and beyond.
If you know The Connection Machine, we’ll safely assume you’re aware of the previously released gear, so we’ll skip to the couplet of exclusives that close the album. Both hail from their golden run of early ‘90s studio work, and likewise sit pretty in a category of downbeat, ambient techno exploration shared with the Warp’s AI cohort and the likes of Sherard Ingram, Carl Craig, and Anthony Shakir’s Urban Tribe collective. ‘Theorems Theorems’ is a classy piece of beatdown, syncing offbeat, Afro-Latinate drum programming to arcing pads and sparing darkside DX7-like bass inflections that really set it off, while ‘Together’ plays to their most starry-eyed side with only a lone bass ballast and distant percussion anchoring layers of luxurious ambient synth decoration.
Factor in a thrilling Legowelt remix of ‘Echoes From Tau Ceti’, from the OG ‘Utroid Missions EP’, along with kerb crawl electro sleaze reminding of Pmetex on ‘Evil Earth’, the shoegaze acid of ‘Keen (On Life)’, and another Urban Tribe-esque gem in ‘Klute’, and you’ve got a real one for the armchair astronauts.