January: 18 albums you need to hear this month
Sven Väth, Fever Ray, Nabihah Iqbal, Björk and more
Album of the month
Sven Väth 'Sven Väth In The Mix: The Sound Of The 18th Season' (Cocoon)
Sven Väth single-handedly brought techno to Ibiza nearly 20 years ago. Ever since then, the influence of his DJ sets and famous Cocoon parties have continued to loom large: you simply can’t do a trip to the White Isle without heading to Amnesia on Monday to see the master of big-room sounds at work. It would have been easy for Väth to trade on reputation, to keep on playing the hits. But he hasn’t. Instead, his passion isn’t faked, as proven by the latest entry in this long-running series, which aims to sum up the sounds of the season that was.
It’s filled with a broad selection of cuts that have largely been released in the last year or so. There’s no cronyism, either: this isn’t a celebration of Sven and friends, but of modern techno at large. From underground acts such as Willow, Hodge and Barnt to more established names including Slam, KiNK and John Tejada, both mixes are multi-dimensional and cover sounds that are, variously, physical, deep, emotive and intense. Disc one is a showcase of building tension and suspense through loopy percussive tracks, droning synths and thudding drums.
Things never boil over, though, and the promise of there always being something more to come keeps you locked in. And then it does on CD 2, when wildness takes over and things really start to bang. As a window into a techno night in Ibiza, it offers a view filled with the sort of rises and falls so many main-room acts wrongly shun. Eighteen years in, then, and Sven Väth is still setting the agenda. Kristan J Caryl