2007 was a strange year for techno. Dancefloors worldwide were hooked by the minimal craze, vinyl sales were in a massive slump, Europe was gripped by widespread recession and Berghain was relatively unknown to those outside of Berlin. With this in mind, if someone told you they were going to start a record label, and press on vinyl, you'd probably have told them that they'd be mad to do so. But Kr!z, driven by a need for an artistic outlet, had other ideas.
Armed with tracks from Inigo Kennedy, Sub Space, Ø Phase and Radial, he pitched his stall and made his statement of a new darker direction that techno could take. Token Records was born and the result was music made for dark basements rather than huge arena's hired by promoter with bottomless production budgets. As the years have rolled by releases from Inigo Kennedy and Ø Phase have continued and spattered amongst them has been EPs from the likes of Oscar Mulero, Go Hiyama, Xhin, Mark Broom and Eschaton as well as the roster additions of Ctrls and Rødhåd, which have been received with critical acclaim from all corners of the techno world and has helped cement the labels position at the forefront of our ever enhancing scene.
As we reach the present day, Token Records present us with 'Aphelion' to serve as a celebration of their achievements to date and as a prelude to what the future looks like for the Belgium imprint. Collecting together label mainstays, techno legends and bright new stars was only going to end in something spectacular, covering the expansive tapestry of sounds that make up what we class as techno. There's no warm up as we're thrown straight into what seems like the Army Ants march to war with Ø Phase's 'Insectoid'. Lucy drops the pace with 'Sana Sana Sana Cura Cura Cura' and his subtle use of modular rhythms before Ctrls ups the ante with the frantic progression of 'X.Y.'
Rødhåd continues the heady vibe with 'Haumea' and it's trippy synth patterns that intertwine with each other in oscillating waves and slowly enslave your subconscious. 'The 808 Track (Parts 1 & 2)', from Luke Slater's Planetary Assault Systems alias, makes tremendous use of the classic 808 sounds that have been a staple of techno since it's inception. The UK techno legend run continues as James Ruskin utilises almost playful, infectiously jacking programming on 'No Trace' and Surgeon showcases his heavily distorted industrial sound on 'Fixed Action Pattern'.
Inigo Kennedy, no less of a UK techno legend himself, mixes heavy kicks and aggressive percussion with emotive lead lines for those late night transcendent moments. Not wanting to go out on a whimper, they've rounded off with one of the most exciting additions to UK techno in the shape of Blawan and Pariah's double act, Karenn, and their 'Pace Yourself' which does anything but. Stabs drenched in reverb overlay gothic bells which perch delicately on top of a relentless 4/4 kick drum to leave you craving more when you reach the final curtain.
If this album is to be a statement of everything that Token Records embodies, then they're definitely going with the attitude of put your strongest foot forward. And what results is a structurally sound fortress of techno that could withstand anything nature, or man, could throw at it. It's solid as the day is long and bound together with quality from every junction. The journey to this point has been a very fruitful one for Token and the future is one that should be observed very closely.
If you're still not sold on whether you should buy this from our words alone, you can stream the full album from the Soundcloud player below. You can buy the Triple Vinyl + CD pack now from Juno as well as all your other esteemed outlets. For more info on Token Records, head over to their Facebook Fan Page