Boomkat Product Review:
Downwards and Sandwell District co-founder and key Brummie techno figurehead Peter Sutton is finally subject to this long-in-the-making 5CD retrospective spanning both solo albums and stacks of 12” cuts, plus a bonus unreleased 2000 session with sparring partner Regis - an important tome for all UK techno fiends and archivists. RIYL Regis, Surgeon, Jeff Mills, Fret, Justin K Broadrick, Sandwell District...
Since the mid ‘90s Peter Sutton aka Female has been a key underground figure in UK techno, setting up the Downwards label and pumping out a cultishly prized catalogue of driving dancefloor productions that define the “Birmingham” sound at its brute and infectious best. Female’s coldly atonal, drily percussive sound holds a lot in common with his peers, Regis and Surgeon, sharing strong influence from early ‘90s Jeff Mills and hard, tracky Chicago techno as much as post punk and Industrial musicks. However, Female’s emphasis on extra slinky patterns and subtly trippy filtering, articulated with a dry and cutting Black Country wit, has indelibly personalised his productions with a swingeing shuffle and mesmerising monotone atmosphere that’s entirely his own, as perfectly exhibited across this definitive survey.
Collecting the albums ‘Into The Exotic’ (1997) and ‘Angel Plague’ (1999), plus a clutch of vital 12”s including some of the earliest for Sandwell District (‘Serverlan’), and a never-before-released 2000 recording of his duo with Karl O’Connor (Regis) circa their Hostage and ‘Againstnature’ recording; the set covers one of the most vital and unique strains of UK techno, brutally demonstrating how the hard, diverse, inner city rave sounds of US cities like Detroit, Chicago and NYC came to resonate with residents of post-industrial UK cities such as Birmingham (as much as Glasgow, Manchester or Sheffield), while subtly but punkishly contrasting with their Euro counterparts.
In recent years Female’s ascetically future-proofed music has arguably become a sort of secretive knowledge or preserve due to his absence from release schedules, but this newly mastered brick of a set - meticulously re-mastered by Brummie demigod Justin Broadrick - should serve a suitably punishing reminder and introduction to one of techno’s most single-minded, and most distinctive artists.