Wareika Formation

Techno trios aren't frequently encountered in the world of dance music, and this Hamburg/Berlin outfit featuring Jakob Seidensticker, Florian Schirmacher and Henrik Raabe capitalize on the permutations that having six hands make possible. Though six of these nine tracks were previously released, Formation plays out like an ambitious DJ set supplemented by various live instruments. Anchored by a live opener called "Men Village," a club-ready 4/4 stomper that's underlain with little dub echo trails and occasional jazz guitar fills, the album visits a wide variety of modes. Tracks like "Barracuda" and "One Nation" make unlikely leaps between Afrobeat funkiness and dubbed-out Eastern bloc horn melodies. A somewhat unfortunate and lengthy jazz/fusion cover of "Riders On the Storm" signals a swerve into the more song-oriented concluding third of the album. The digital beat poetry of "Burnin'" fits the flow, whereas closer "Belonging" suffers a little from the undertow of R&B nostalgia. It's a dance album for folks unafraid of exploring surprises and branches off of the usually travelled pathways. (Tartelet)