Model 500 Model 500OFI / Huesca
R&S RECORDINGS (R&S1006, 12” + digital)
The start of Detroit techno, if some strange and unexpected forefather doesn’t suddenly appear, is usually flagged with the release in 1985 of “No UFO’s”. Juan Atkins, hiding under his now legendary Model 500 moniker, in the company of the first techno renegades, lit up a new world in which we are still living –more or less, with the logical evolutions that come with the years– and in which, most importantly, Atkins still wants to say something. The last record he signed as Model 500 appeared in 1999, although the project was reactivated live as a trio not more than five years ago. Atkins played the keys with UR head honcho Mike Banks as his loyal squire, and so the wheel started to turn again. The track “Huesca” is inspired by that first tour: it takes its name form the Spanish town at the foot of the Pyrenees where the Periferias festival is held. Atkins’s memory of it is good enough to transport the energy to five minutes of tumultuous funk that carry the genetic code of Detroit in each second. Because Model 500 always was techno, but not a monotonous techno (it was always bouncy, bordering on funk, robotic, and adoring of Kraftwerk), which is the sound of the galactic “Huesca” –with a dry sound, digital, very similar to Carl Craig– and on the electro track “OFI”, which, rather than the return of Model 500, seems to indicate that Atkins has gone even further back, to the times of Cybotron and the immortal “Clear”. This vinyl is old school in your face and up-to-date, in perfect shape. With spectacular production, hard and surrounding, it is prepared to sweep away the youngsters and rule alone once more. Mike Banks also does a remix of “OFI” and he gives it his all. It wouldn’t make sense to prefer a discman over an iPod, but it would be logical to prefer this vinyl by Atkins over one by a younger techno producer. Detroit, like wine, gets better with time and, although it may seem a cliché, so many times experience trumps a degree.