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Various One Five Zero

IDM is still alive and figuring itself out, despite those three scarlet letters braving critics’ stones. Emotion seems to be the next frontier for the faithful. Oakland’s n5MD label has spent the past five years exploring IDM’s melancholic side, and ballads are the order of the day for this milestone comp of n5MD regulars. Bitcrush and Last Days achieve a sublime balance between ambient sleepwalking and hazy post-rock. At worst, maudlin sentiment hinders a few tracks. Arc Lab’s cover of the Tori Amos number “Cornflake Girl” suffers from uneven mixing and operatic melodrama that prods the listener to shed a tear. Emo-IDM? Now that’s a genre I fear.

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