Liza N Eliaz // Initial Gain
(USA Import Records)

Pioneering, hip-hop influenced rave gear from Belgium, reissued.

Here comes an intriguing curio from the history of European techno. Liza N Eliaz passed away in 2001, but in the final decade of her life she cut a swathe through Belgian techno and eventually speedcore scenes – by all accounts a larger than life character with a positive impact on those she encountered. The newly revived USA Import label which released some of her early work comes back into earshot with a reissue of this EP from 1991, offering the kind of rough and ready hybridised gear which typifies the early 90s at its best. 

There was a time when hip-hop, house and techno were all felt as different sides of the same coin, and on these tracks Liza seems to innately sense this connection, bringing cutting and sampling swagger to tracks clearly feeding off the influence of new beat et al. ‘Space Split’ is as much an 80s throwdown as a herald of the rave explosion, while ‘Initial Gain’ comes on like Mantronix jamming with Phuture and Model 500. ‘Sexcess’ makes this notion crystal clear with its low slung hip-hop tempo and restless sample juggling, but more important than all that is how wild and free these tracks sound, with an infectious joie de vivre which makes them utterly fresh despite their age. 

In bringing the package into the contemporary era the label have tapped up Toulouse Low Trax for a version of ‘Sexcess’, which of course means anything can and does happen. The samples get reframed by one of Detlef Weinrich’s low-frequency rumbles and plenty more disorienting flourishes – a remix with flair to match the flamboyant brilliance of the original artist.