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Reviews: Various Genres


Review: Various Artists Freshly Composted Vol. 2

Label: Compos

For their 250th release, Compost, one of Europe's most consistent and crucial dance labels, has paired rare tracks previously available only on 12" with staples from the label's current roster. Aside from critical cuts like Muallem's cosmic edit of The Droids' "Shanti Dance," and Marsmobil's thump-heavy lounger "Mangia Amore," the extended remixes will send listeners into a sonic abyss. Need evidence? Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Urban Club Africa: Hip Hop Dancehall and Kwaito

Label: Out/Here

Out/Here seeks to give wider exposure to the raw, grassroots sound of contemporary urban Africa, as opposed to the adulterated, internationally minded material that is foisted on us as "world music." As the latest installment is a sort of label sampler, drawn mostly from past and upcoming releases and focusing on the most danceable cuts, it's not quite as compelling as earlier Out/Here discs, but is still miles ahead of the competition. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Fabric 32: Luke Slater

Label: Fabric

U.K. techno icon Luke Slater's DJ mix is best played softly in the car, and not while you're driving. Its eerie smoothness might induces drowsiness, no matter how loud the house and minimal techno beats smack your face. Slater makes the freeway lights dance in the fog with chosen cuts from Jurgen Driessden, Basic Channel, and Putsch '79, who proffers lysergic disco on "Doin' It." The jittery Super Mario electro of Audion's "Mouth to Mouth" and Slater's wobbly riffs on "Organ Bender" also yank ears. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists The Topography of Chance

Label: Sonic Arts Network

In homage to the Fluxus artist Emmet Williams' book, An Anecdoted Topography of Chance, British curator Stewart Lee handpicked these fine, cross-genre gems to highlight works that might represent chance operations (a favorite of John Cage's). What results is a beautifully packaged book and CD full of maps and off-the-wall sounds from weird Americana (The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players and pscyh folkie Rodd Keith) to Derek Bailey's avant take on the British folk tradition. The highlight, though, is The Fall's Mark E. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists EV Records Presents: Everything

Label: EV

Everything is more than a mere label compilation. This 14-track collection from Chicago's rapidly ascending EV Records showcases how well its artists play with others-a tradition that in-house producer Copperpot sparked when he began working with London MCs years ago. True to the disc's title, there's an expansive range of styles on display here from EV artists and their collaborators. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Imagine the Shapes

Label: What's Your Rupture

Over the past year, What's Your Rupture has emerged as the little indie label that could-and kept could-ing. Clawing with the big boys and signing impeccably cool band after impeccably cool band, WYR has put together a glistening roster. Here's a spread of their labor-fruit: some C-86 worship from caUSE co-MOTION, a bit of The Long Blondes' Sheffield-bred, grrl-led "glamorous punk," the cagey, belly-grumbling indie pop of Love Is All, and Comet Gain's four-track sleekness. An impressive start for a little indie that won't be little for much longer. Read more » 

Review: Yoko Ono Yes I'm a Witch

Label: Astralwerks

The former Mrs. Lennon is still completely bizarre, but that's always been a good thing. This collaborative project-with Peaches, Hank Shocklee, DJ Spooky, Le Tigre, and others-is generally evenhanded, allowing Ono to sing, scream, chat, and whisper over an array of soundscapes. Whether rambling over The Polyphonic Spree's symphonic rock ("You and I") or crooning alongside Cat Power ("Revelations"), Ono's mood and lyrics mesh without sounding forced. Aside from a few awkward tracks, Ono's latest is another cool tidbit in her storied, bewitching career. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Wired Ones

Label: Wired

Over the past few years, a bustling, early-'90s female electro revival has emerged from the underground school of Peaches and Le Tigre. Wired Ones represents the most recent graduates from this once exclusive scene. Featuring a host of ironically sexual, aerobics-class hits from new schoolers like Scream Club, Dynasty Handbag, and Angie Reed, each retro jam reflects a certain electro-feminine experience of music. While it's politically challenging, few tracks live up to the message. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Chem087cd+dvd

Label: Chemikal Underground

When Glasgow band The Delgados started Chemikal Underground 11 years ago to release their single "Monica Webster" b/w "Brand New Car," they likely didn't think that it would go on to influence the next generation of Brit-pop kings and queens. Folks like Bis, Radar Bros, Mogwai, and Arab Strap would all rise to relative fame with the push that the label provided. Read more » 

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