VA: Duskscape Not Seen

Considering that Duskscape Not Seen is the inaugural outing by the newly established Japan-based label nothings66, one has to be impressed by the calibre of the personnel involved. Artists from City Centre Offices (Dub Tractor, The Gentleman Losers), Type (Helios, Goldmund), and Ghostly (Lusine, The Sight Below), among others, contribute twenty tracks to the compilation, with sixteen of them unreleased and three of them exclusives.

The release features samplings of sparkling melodic electronica (The Gentleman Losers' “Honey Is Sweeter Than Blood,” Color Cassette's “Pastoral Picture Show”) and placid ambient settings (Ozy's strings-enhanced oasis “Night Shift 33C”). A handful of uptempo rhythm-based tracks brings contrast to the collection as well: Dub Tractor drapes vocals over a charging thrust in the shoegaze-styled “Fall In Love Like This”; Yagya's bright “Finite Permutations” brings a dub-inflected and house-driven groove to the set; The Sight Below overlays a Gas-styled kick drum pattern with rivulets of electric guitar during “Life's Fading Light”; and L'usine gives Funckarma's “Fog” a predictable funky makeover.

Stafraenn Hakon's blissful and folktronic “Son of Meat” is considerably more delicate than its title suggests, while aMute's “Drive” serves up fluttering washes of ambient splendour. Other highlights: “Things Said When The Firmament Falls,” a dramatic chamber orchestra setting by Telefon Tel Aviv's Joshua Eustis under the Sons of Magdalene name. Very much emblematic of Ezekiel Honig's current style, “Removed Images And The Eventual Wall” blends wavering horn-like tones and field recordings textures into an entrancing vignette of tranquil murmur. Best of all, Keith Kenniff distinguishes the collection with pieces under his Helios and Goldmund names, the first “Carry With Us,” a lilting, guitar-based serenade that's arguably the collection's most beautiful setting, and “Hope Avenue,” a prototypical Goldmund piano meditation.

May 2010