VA: Devil in the Detail

Assembled by UK-based Nick Edell, Interchill Records offers up one of the most solid compilations heard in recent memory. True to its word, Devil In The Detail presents an encompassing potpourri of precision-tooled electronic cuts from music-makers based in US, UK, Holland, Switzerland, and Israel. Lovely opening pieces by Faction and Cheju (“Molten,” “Ergl”) hint that the collection may concentrate on lushly textured downtempo settings intended for meditative listening but the vibe dramatically shifts towards crunk-hop in the material that follows. There's no looking back once the glitch-laden funk of Nalepa's “Blue” kicks in.

What recommends the release even more than its consistently high quality level is the fact that each piece is filled with tiny surprises and unexpected twists and turns. In place of a lazy over-reliance on repetitive loops, a fabulous cut like Ooah's “Tuesday Again” never stops shedding skin as it slithers through multiple lessons in bleepy bass physics. Similarly, Vibesquad's “Kaleidoscone” rolls across an ever-changing terrain littered with bass throbs, melodicas, synths, and handclaps and namechecks IDM, jungle, and hip-hop during its ultra-scenic trip. Flowers of Wraith chops heads with the marauding snarl of the cobraesque funkateer “Aftermathmatics” while Good Buddha lays out heavy turntable artillery in Tipper's dub-funk bulldozer “Party Reserve.” Eat Static's “The Third Nebula” is arguably the most ambitious in its reach. After a breezily atmospheric opening of head-nodding crunch and swizzling voice samples, the tune explodes midway through into a steaming Latin cha-cha powered by horns and percussion. Instrumental hip-hop is the heart and soul of many Devil In The Detail tracks but traces of IDM, funk, drum'n'bass, and dub sometimes bleed through the cracks too.

December 2007