Marc Romboy & Ken Ishii - Taiyo

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Techno master craftsmen like Marc Romboy and Ken Ishii are known to many a techno buff the world round. Romboy has spent the last twenty years as an acclaimed producer, DJ and label owner, while Ishii is considered one of Japan’s most respected and innovative techno artists with an influence that extends beyond the dancefloor. Hell, he was even asked to produce the official theme song for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.

But here, we have something different. The two techno protagonists, situated on the other side of the world from one another, have produced Taiyo – Japanese for ‘sun’, the origin of everything. If nothing else, the album is testament to the fact that the digital era has indeed made the world a smaller place. Twenty years ago, such an expedition would’ve been unheard of. Even ten years ago, it wouldn’t have been without its fair share of obstacles. Fortunately though, the album is a lot more than just an illustration of the shrinking of the digital divide.

Starting with the soothing and very electronic sounds of Gosa, it is a gentle and promising introduction, before the bass kicks in for the melodic and driving Seiun. It comes back a notch during the quirky and chilled, yet equally grooving Helium, before we launch into Dopplereffekt. Over eight minutes it is one helluva tune: transforming from a powerful driving offering into a fist-punching dance floor melodic party. No mean feat in most people’s opinion, and the combination of cleverly crafted music with more than a touch of dancefloor excitement works ridiculously well.

It is a theme that is similarly present in Suisei and this time, with the BPMs heading north, we seemingly prepare ourselves to launch into something big. It comes in the form of Taiyo whose brief yet calming introduction is merely the calm before the storm, as Romboy and Ishii unleash with belting techno. A gritty, dirty affair, it is the perfect foil into the closing track Der Strand, finishing as we began – soothingly, complete with the sound of running water.

Overall, the album is more an experience and one that should really appreciated in its entirety, from start to finish. Yes, tunes like Dopplereffekt and Taiyo will make for great dance floor tunes, but the album as one body of music is pretty damn good, as each tune flows into the next one, encouraging you to keep listening. They have managed to both leave their own mark on the album, the contrasting styles evident throughout: creative, yet exciting. The only problem is that with only seven tracks in under fifty minutes, the album comes up – in my opinion – just a little short.

Nevertheless, it is two guys that know their trade very well, and despite differences in longitude and latitude, have come together and produced some intelligent dance music. Their pedigree, experience and talent has shone through, and the pair have produced something worth listening to.

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