VA: Ikude

Shima's Ikude compilation departs from the prevailing electronic music norm by wholeheartedly embracing a 1990s Warp-IDM vibe that'll strike many listeners as thoroughly old-school—a good or bad thing, depending on one's disposition and appetite for that period. Drawn from artists around the globe (England, Canada, Greece, Australia, Germany), the label's tenth release assembles fourteen contributions into an hour-long travelogue that revives hazy memories of early Autechre, Plaid, and Squarepusher releases (crisp beats and understated melodic fragments in Cato Six's “Milpobeam” evoke early Autechre, for example, while intricate motifs and rapidly pitter-pattering beats in “Thirtyseven” suggest Self Oscillate's affinity for Plaid).

Meandering melodies and laconic beatsmithing in Laputa's opening “Eightfold Path” hint at the journey ahead, and the bright melodies and storming beat skitter of Naono's “Twinkles in My Breathing” offer clearer evidence of the stylistic path the compilation is intent on pursuing. The opening two minutes of Signalform's “Replay” are so evocative and languorous, one almost regrets its shift from ambient mode to IDM, even when the material's lush placidity remains in place following the transition. Ikude mixes it up on occasion: [710w3]'s “Jade Green” lends the set brief Asian flavour, Alkin Engineering's “Segwean Manor” adds darker industrial-IDM heaviosity, and Tachikoma's “I Frank Too Much” offers a welcome change of pace by introducing crate-digging hip-hop (a shame the tune's marred by borderline vocal elements). Two of the collection's better moments come courtesy of Melorman, whose “Lullu” weds sweet, stately melodies to laconic beats, and Riamiwo, whose delicate “Details Won't Detain” offers breezy, vocal-based synth-pop that's hard to resist.

November 2007