VA: A Private Shade of Green

I wish I could get more excited about this 70-minute split compilation from Privatelektro and Gruenrekorder (150 copies produced). The disc arrives in an attractively silk-screened, transparent case, and it includes field recordings and electronic pieces by fourteen artists, seven from each label. But many of these field recordings try my patience by recycling sounds heard too many times before (crashing waves, automobile noises, and bird chatter). By now, a more novel and varied sonic palette is needed than what's emphasized here. We hear, then, the scratchy caw of birds (Yannick Dauby's “Rana limnocharis”), car noises as if someone placed a microphone next to the highway (Daniel Knef's “At the Stairway by Afternoon”), water sounds (Lasse-Marc Riek's “Blässhuhn” (Fulica atra)), loud rumbling and banging (Tobias Bolt's “Dilatationsfuge”), and children laughing at the beach amidst crashing waves (Adriano Zanni's “Summer Life on the Shorelines”). Gruenrekorder co-founder Roland Etzin's “Abseits der Straßen” presents more bird, dog, and automobile sounds while UK producer Igor Hax's repetitive mix of static, muffled beats (“Yellow Room in Sefton Drive ”) lacks development.

A few moments stand out, specifically Parachute's “06 v 1.1,” a meditation of glistening tinkles and blurry tones, and Reverend Benn Schipper's “Thun (RMX 053),” a flickering whirligig of rough-edged electronics. Also decent is the fourteen-minute closer “Absentee Debate” by c:\ (Christiane Doederlein) which begins as a mutating electronic drone and then slowly turns it into a spacey Tangerine Dream clone powered by synthesizer rhythms ‘borrowed' from Phaedra. A Private Shade of Green clearly was assembled and produced with care; a shame that the field recording content isn't more arresting and original.

July 2007