The German duo Hardfloor were known during their mid-'90s heyday as techno's one-trick pony, slaves to Roland's legendary "acid box," the TB-303 bass synthesizer. They built their reputation with classics such as 1993's 11-minute screeching acid epic "Acerperience," a track that spawned hoards of imitators in techno and trance scenes around the world.
So What?! proves that Hardfloor composed of Dusseldorf, Germany, residents Oliver Bondzio and Ramon Zenker can do plenty more than just twiddle 303 knobs over stomping 4/4 beats. The 10 cuts on this, their fifth LP, run the gamut from peak-hour tracks such as "Communication 2 None" (RealAudio excerpt) to the spliffed-out downtempo funk of "Dear Mc Bain" (RealAudio excerpt). The duo's omnipresent acid sounds have given way to a warmer, synthetic soup of electronic breakbeats and jungle-style sub-bass blasts, as on "Smash the Gnat." So What?!'s title track proves that Hardfloor can still bang it out old-school style, with a cheeky spoken word bit ("This is a Hardfloor production/ We're still doing the same shit/ Nothing has changed/ So what? What?!") recited over a building, twirl-your-glowsticks acid squiggle.
So What?! is essential listening for techno heads who wince at vocals and radio-friendly hooks. Bondzio and Zenker offer an unsullied style of electronic music that manages to maintain a high level of groove without neglecting the dance floor's needs.