Next time you're wondering why some compilations feature the same songs over and over, keep in mind that it's easy for a label to bang together a comp just to have something new on the shelves. When done properly, though, the compilation is a wonderful thing. It can be used as a chance to catch up on music you might have missed on a label or from an artist, present material in a new way-possibly through remixes--or introduce you to some upcoming releases and artists. There's plenty of fine various artists releases hitting the stores these days, so let's dig into the stack and give em a listen.
Belgrade's Radio B92 puts out a limited edition CD each year with the station's recent favorites. "Radio Utopia 1999: Millenium Funk" doesn't feature a bucketload of exclusive material, but it does show that quality electronic music is truly appreciated the world over. Warp's Red Snapper and Roni Size's Breakbeat Era rub shoulders with deep house from Chris Gray and Cassio; electro is represented with I-F's classic "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass", and the city's own Darkwood Dub contribute as well. And that's just the half of it.
The British Pagoda label starts the year with the second in their Pangaea series, this time with new material from Copenhagen (Deepfried Toguma), London (Efficke, Sqaure City, The Rise, and Orphic), and Cologne (Big Chief Electric, Bob Humid, and Numinous). Designed to highlight the talent on the label's roster and tease us for the forthcoming full lengths from some of the artists involved, sounds vary from drum n bass to experimental beats and all take it to the next level. Investigate, you won't be disappointed. Still from the UK, but on a more chilled vibe is the "Marconi Point" compendium from Iris Light. Plenty of exclusive material from the likes of Zoviet France, Rapoon, Marineville, Penumbra, and the late Muslimgauze. Perfect for nighttime relaxation or bringing you down at the end of a hectic weekend out.
Two new labels debut in April. From Chicago, Endpoint Recordings unveil their aptly titled "Compilation 01" of eclectic and experimental music from Electronics Report favorites like Solenoid and OMCO label artists like CNS Engineering to Windy City producers Rehab (who are set to launch their solo album in May). It's great to hear the label will be making all releases available on vinyl in addition to compact disc. Texas' Mad Monkey imprint starts things with "Enter The Monkey", bringing together more well known artists in the IDM scene such as Qwerty and Kid606 with newer names. It's always good to see electronic music of this high caliber pressed and Mad Monkey's future looks bright.
Over to the West Coast now and California is well represented. Los Angeles' Plug Research plans two mini-compilations to highlight the work of artists experimenting with vocals. "Voices In My Lunch Box Vol. 1" features Pole, John Tejada (with his mother, opera singer Carmen Tejada, on vocals), Smyglyssna, and Kit Clayton (who has just had his 4Mod3 project released on Phthalo). To follow is an EP with the talents of Sluts, Strings & 909, Chicks On Speed Vs. Potuznik & Bauer, Jamie Hodge, and Ectomorph. San Francisco's Andrew Jervis has put together a real tasty treat on Ubiquity with the "No Categories 2" double CD package. You want hip hop? It's here. Hot latin rhythms? They're here. Older material and new stuff, too. It's highly recommended as is "Convergence" from fellow SF label OM with XLR8R. Previously unavailable tracks from talent like Endemic Void, Jazzanova, Russ Gabriel, and Fila Brazillia here showcase the live aspect of electronic music to great results. It's all good; now your only question is how many fit your budget.
Cognition Electronics Top 20
1. Various--"Pangaea Volume 2" CD (UK Pagoda CDR)