[20 January 2010]
Cassy Britton might play second banana to Ellen Allien in the female contingent of minimal techno, but it isn’t for lack of credentials. She counts Ricardo Villalobos and Steve Bug among her collaborators, appears in the catalogues of esteemed imprints (Perlon, Get Physical, and Ostgut), runs her own eponymous record label, and holds a regular DJ slot at Berlin’s high-class Panorama Bar. Since she began spinning there in the mid-2000s, her sets have become quietly famous for the way she turns incompatible strains of techno into kissing cousins, and her Panorama Bar 01 mix (think Fabric) from 2006 is downright essential, the pan-global pastiche to fill the four-year gap between DJ /rupture’s Special Gunpowder and Uproot. Did you know she also has exquisite taste in music? Like, wow.
But Cassy is subtle, which may be keeping her willfully under the radar. As a person, she’s earthbound and approachable, and as a DJ/producer, she sidesteps pop and whiz-bang theatrics to highlight techno’s less assuming sides: muted dance, Detroit-checking deep house, and Delsin Records extraterrestrialism. Simply Devotion hardly flips the script for Cassy, with its tasteful selection of minor gems arranged to create contrasts, though her squeaky-clean mixing job (sounds like software this time) makes sense of the differences. These are extremely fresh cuts, most of them from ’08 and ’09, and Cassy chipped in a couple of original tracks featuring her inimitable vocal work.
If the absence of turntables irks the purists, they’ll be vindicated by the inclusion of STL’s spooky “Silent State” from the Smallville single of the same name and the Kassem Mosse Workshop 08 A-side. The FBA remix of Danny Howells’ “September” is a love letter to Delsin and a “talk to the hand” at the glut of jazz-house yes-men. Cassy does let some sarcasm in at the end with Ralph Falcon’s stark and hilarious “Whateva” (a “nyah-nyah” tease of “Whateva, whateva, whateva you say / Whateva, whateva, whateva”). However, it’s the deep house producers—Linkwood, Trus’me, and Kez YM—who hit it out of the park, bringing the good-natured soul of 3 Chairs gracefully into the present. Simply marvelous.