Boomkat Product Review:
Sandwell District’s sole album returns to cries of relief/disbelief from all those who missed out on the blink ’n miss original pressing in 2010, which now trades for a week’s rent.
‘Feed Forward’ was the pinnacle and swansong of a near decade-long run from the label co-op of Karl O’Connor (Regis), Juan Mendez (Silent Servant), Dave Sumner (Function) and Peter Sutton (Female). Presented under their collective moniker, the 11 track album definitively outlined their strength in numbers and coherence of collective vision across a fine spectrum of contemporary, deep and industrial techno offset with aquaplaning ambient. It was hugely emblematic and symptomatic of a 2000’s techno axis that reached from LA to Berlin via NYC and Birmingham (where Sandwell District is located), streamlining the rougher edges of UK techno to prevailing minimalist trends, while not throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and retaining the salient, if atavistic, traces of deep Detroit and sexy Chicago styles that first inspired them.
13 years since its release, it’s fair to say that techno trends have changed, with younger ravers now preferring pacy, trancier late ‘90s variations and hard groove tribalism, but we reckon it’s only a matter of time before the whole ‘00s Berghain sound, of which Sandwell District was a key part, sets the pace again. ‘Feed Forward’ is primed to provide a richer, sexier, more immersive experience for those who only know techno via its more rote, big stage filter sweeps played by bony European club warriors. From the gathering of gothic energies in ‘Immolare’ thru its jaw-relaxant ambient on the 7”, SD perfectly limn the shape of techno in 2010, with Regis’ cutthroat swag apparent on ‘Grey Cut Out’, and ‘Hunting Lodge’ clearly blessed with Function’s signature momentum and heart-in-mouth pads that carry into the soaring stepper ‘Falling The Same Way’, whilst Female’s rhythmic subtleties play out in ’Svar’, and ‘Speed + Sound (Endless)’ follows the finest line back to techno’s roots in Detroit and then Düsseldorf.