Juan Atkins Legends Volume: 1

For all of those who associate stark, dissonant techno with Juan Atkins' name, his DJ set on Legends... is sure to come as a surprise. There's more house, garage, disco and Latin elements here, not to mention a number of tracks based around samples of traditional (i.e. non-digital) instruments than one would stereotypically expect from this godfather of Detroit electronic music. In fact, there's arguably only two "real" techno tracks on the disc, and one of them belongs to Atkins' alias, Model 500 ("I Wanna Be There"); the other being Kit Clayton's hypnotic "Belt Frictional Problem." Regardless, the draw on this mix is the energy that our man brings to the turntables: it starts off chill, with an invocative cross-fade from the psychedelic layers of "I Wanna Be There" into the meditative percussion of Rui Da Silva's "Earth." The groove then picks up as we move into with the brushy textures of Individual Orchestra's "1, 2, 7, 29, 10, 14" and the carnival atmosphere of Isolee's "Beau Mot Plage." From there, Atkins takes us through a variety of "filtered" favourites - DJ Sneak's "Dancin' Therapy" and Hatiras' "Spaced Invader" - and while it all makes for great party music, it isn't all that radical. Given the title of the disc, it would have been more interesting to hear some of the music that inspired his legendary career, or even some of his more recent material. (Om)