VA: Noise Factory Records Sampler Vol. 03
Noise Factory

Given that occasionally one reads about Toronto's struggle to envision itself as a ‘world-class' city in the same league as New York, one imagines some similar degree of self-doubt might bedevil an independent label like Noise Factory. Founded in 1996, the label's third sampler proves that insecurity of that kind is hardly justified. Featuring established NS acts Beef Terminal, Tinkertoy, and Hexes & Ohs alongside new recruits Minisystem, Neon Tetra, adcBicycle, and Aidan Baker, the hour-long collection (catalogue excerpts and exclusives) is largely electronic-based though clear differences declare themselves beyond that shared foundation.

Beef Terminal introduces the set with billowing electronic gloom and aggressive beat squelch on “Everything is Alive” and closes it with a panoramic meditation of voice samples, synth colour, and guitar haze in “Violence Against Computers.” In between, we get atmospheric electroacoustic dreaminess from Nybbl (“Styrofoam Pieces in Place of a Heart”) and quietly jubilant IDM gleam from Minisystem (“Where Were You”). Echoing cascades of bright tinkles rain down on a subtly funky lope in Tinkertoy's “Fifty-Two Incorporated” while Hexes & Ohs' “Our Reflection Echoes On” beguiles with its melancholy electronic-folk charm and whispered vocals. Aidan Baker and Naw bring a haunted soundscaping dimension to the set, Troum's remix of Baker's “When You Scream” like a brain scan recorded during deepest sleep and Naw's “Sustanined” a lulling dubwise chug of simple beats and muffled chords. Interestingly, the sampler suggests Noise Factory's embrace of melodic IDM is intensifying at the same moment that other labels are retreating from it—an unfashionable move maybe but not an unwelcome one.

October 2006