VARIOUS ARTISTS Flux Trax 02 (EXP)

With the original "Flux Trax" volume already firmly seated at the top of my All-Time Favourite Compilations Ever list, the lure of its successor proved too much to resist, despite the plethora of unfamiliar names amongst the track listing. However, my impecunious (i.e. bankruptured student) side was pleased to locate the limited edition 4LP vinyl folder (it’s too flimsy to be called a box, unfortunately) set for the unbelievable price of 8.49, which even allowing for inflation and VAT and decimalisation is a paltry fee for over two hours of top techno tunes.

Black mark: no sleevenotes. Those that cosseted "Flux Trax" could turn the least knowledgeable music lover into a techno trainspotter overnight, and given the ‘anonymous’ nature of many of the combos featured here they’re almost essential: most of the information I’ve managed to glean is from careful scrutiny of the minimal credits and guesswork.

Enough moaning. The first "Flux Trax" was a one-stop instant techno collection, featuring key players such as Underworld, The Aphex Twin and Rhythm Is Rhythm alongside new and exciting talent. Here the only big-ish names are LFO, Leftfield and Sabres Of Paradise, who waltz home with the best track award for the fourteen minutes of magnificence that is the David Holmes mix of "Smokebelch II". "Flux Trax" also concentrated more on gorgeous squidgy acid tunes, whereas its successor seems to be aiming more for the fat Northern beats vibe. Whatever the ethos, "Flux Trax 02" has brought onto my record shelves the likes of the Golden Girls’ "Kinetic" (co-produced by Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll), Model 500’s "The Race" (an early Juan Atkins track from 1989), Disco Evangelists’ helicoptertastic "De Niro" (David Holmes on the loose again, a man whose name is fast becoming a guarantee of excellence) and "Vernon’s Wonderland" by, uh, Vernon. If "Flux Trax" whetted your appetite for this sort of music, and it really should’ve, its successor is the perfect way of developing the obsession.

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