In Vitro by Graffiti Mechanism

Some of the most interesting music to come out of the aughts has gone totally ignored. Musicians operating outside the bounds of good taste and common sense, nestling deep inside the abandoned squats of the internet. They come from netlabels, which have been cranking out some of the weirdest noise, ambient, and wild techno you haven't heard for free for at least twenty years now. Probably my favorite of the lot are the low-bit netlabels, most notably 20kbps. You might cringe at the thought: every release intentionally encoded as low-bitrate MP3, making the warbles and washes a part of the sound itself. Because low-bit can be a bit of a landfill experience, allow me to get you started on the right foot with Graffiti Mechanism's In Vitro.

Filled up with old-school techno grooves and percolating synths at a comfy 32kbps mono, the seven tracks here are all exercises in just how far you can stretch both of those things. "Brutha" is good for a laugh (it's a glitchy, cut up freestyle and it confused the hell out of my dog), but the ten minute "Midwest underground techno initiative" is where things really get hype. "Donda" is more chill, but grooves like a motherfucker all the same. Some of the later tracks are a bit underdeveloped, unfortunately; "Imprint" rides the same groove throughout and I wish it had more layers, and "moonshine" sounds out of place. The closer "The Jewel" hauls major ass afterwards though, so don't miss it. It's not deep, and there's no big statement here. It's just quality old-school techno from one of the most prolific netlabel producers, and it fits in 10mb. What more could you want?

In Vitro

Essential: "Midwest underground techno initiative", "Donda", "The Jewel"
Quintessential: "Winter Reboot Graphics"
Non-essential: "moonshine"

Rating: Good
Download for free on 20kbps