Misstress Barbara Relentless Beats

As much as this amounts to a boring tirade, there isn't enough coverage of women turning to the decks and spinning some tight, mad tunes to a raving dance floor. So Montreal's Misstress Barbara is a welcome surprise with what she has aptly titled her "relentless beats." Moving from academic interests in communications and cinema to a string of punk bands as an entry into music, Barbara traded in her instruments for decks in 1994 and after her first booking in 1996, has had remarkable success beside a range of big household names. Relentless Records is her self-established independent label for techno output, with a house label in the works, if not already set up, for her other interests. Relentless Beats is everything straight-out, stripped-down, hard-edged techno should be. It even starts and ends with appropriate attitude, in the form of the confident stride of Prada heels-wearing feet, strutting it to the 4/4 madness. Its beats are indeed incessant and pummel into you with ferocious energy. There's a sweet blend between the purity of hard techno and techno-driven house on this mix, and it says a lot about Misstress Barbara's self-described style as one that fuses drum-heavy, pumping techno with distinguishable influences from jazz and a repetitive Latin percussive groove. The frenetic techno purity of Steve Stoll fills the pounding but minimalist aspect of her mix, along with label-mate and founder of Synewave Records, Damon Wild. But if they fill the aggressive quota, Barbara turns to the techno house of Jorge Zamacona, with "Arms of my Filter," and the softer tones of Rino Cerrone's "Rilis" for the switches in mood, however subtle they may be. Her capacity to make these subtle switches whilst keeping the frantic energy makes for a mad listen. Nothing notably exceptional is happening here, but the vibe is all fun and fury, which is a remarkable start. (Moonshine)