VA: Chaos.Lovers

At first glance, Chaos.Lovers, the second release from the Barcelona-based Lovethechaos label, doesn't look terribly promising, considering that it appears to be merely one more in a seemingly never-ending stream of computer-based compilations produced by relatively obscure artists, many of whom share a weakness for data-oriented song titles like “Chd3u” and “Neogaritm.” How refreshing, then, to discover that beyond that first impression lie ten inspired and exuberant pieces that may be almost wholly electronic in origin but are no less compelling for being so—in short, there ain't a dud in the bunch.

Despite the brooding tone of many pieces, the artists' jubilant creativity bursts forth in every case, and some pieces (like Nikka Vs Morbia's “Inorganic Agent” which drenches the listener in a harrowing swarm of creaks and glitch) showcase a remarkable command of atmosphere and sound design. There's also variety in style and mood: amidst the glitch of Strand 's “Nik J” lies a wistfulness and warmth, much of it due to the vocal whispers that add soothing sweetness, while Strange2 allows funk and hip-hop to seep into his pulsating, piano-enhanced “White Thought.” In addition, Az-Rotator's “Neogaritm” offers an emphatically musical sampling of breakcore (despite the tune's occasionally seizure-gripped character) and Signalform adds an appealing dance dimension to the collection with the acid-funk swing of “Assembly.” Ab Ovo's “Abstract” provides a slow-burning and majestic coda that—as ridiculous as it might sound to say so—bears an uncanny resemblance to the chord sequence of The Bee Gees' “Nights On Broadway.” Best of all, 3tronik's “Fluvermax” slams into position with the annihilating force of a crazed mastodon as voices groan and snaking rhythms writhe. With equal attention given to beats and atmosphere, Chaos.Lovers inhabits a solid middle ground between Spezialmaterial and Miasmah.

April 2007