Die Orakel, one of the Frankfurt school of electronic music’s newer think tanks (led by Robert Johnson resident Oliver Hafenbaurer), has probed an especially fruitful period of the city’s history in a new compilation.

Cherrypicking several tracks from early hardcore label Cyclotron, trance label “after 6am” and techno leviathan Harthouse, the album marks the point between ’91 and ’94 when the crusty breakbeats, scouring-brush synthwork and dizzying speeds of European rave gave way to an altogether more lubricant sound. On tracks by Atom Heart (one of the many aliases from Uwe Schmidt, AKA Atom™), geeky duo Sieg Über Die Sonne and Phobia aka Tobias Freund, dreamy pads, pointed percussion and easy-going grooves are the order of the day. There are also fresh airings of tracks by legendary duo Alter Ego (Roman Flugel and Jörn Elling Wuttke) and lesser known ambient-not-ambient gems by Redeye and Solar Eclipse, all of which offer examples of a nascent form of delicately distilled techno from the continent.

Whizz forward to the Offenbach of today, and this tradition of tasteful minimalism is still alive and well. Gosu, Pager, DJ Slyngshot, Traffic, Pressure Traxx and of course Die Orakel are all pushing dance music that prides itself on refinement. But, remarkably, the old guard documented on this compilation are, too. Nearly 30 years on, artists such as Flugel, Atom™ and Tobias are still publishing music and touring in their own right. Maybe elegance breeds relevance.

Archive – A Frankfurt Catalogue 91​-​94 is out November 27th on Die Orakel | Pre-order here

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