VA: Dis_patched

Compiling twenty-two performances from the 2002-2004 presentations of Belgrade's Dis-patch festival, Dis_patched offers a comprehensive, two-hour overview of recent and, in some cases, not-so-recent electronic music trends with some artists already having moved beyond the material here: AGF, whose two pieces are in the hypnotic cyborg style of Head Slash Bauch, and Monolake, whose “Arte” harks back to its Hong Kong beginnings. Conceptually and in terms of programming, Dis-patch (independently produced by the Belgradeyard Sound System collective) isn't unlike MUTEK, Sonar, and other festivals that annually promote and sustain the global electronic music scene. One of the things that inspired the festival producers to create Dis-patch was a desire to show local audiences that electronic music could mean more than 'dance' music—hence the 'experimental' electronic emphasis of the release. The second disc in particular focuses on the style, with Rechenzentrum's two pieces (“Qaujaq Totale,” an unsettling ten-minute 'torture chamber' soundscape, and the less harrowing “Synchron”) the standouts among offerings from Pita, Murcof, Wang Inc., and others.

The opening disc is stylistically more varied, with jazz, post-rock, and folk represented too. The feel is often intimate, suggesting that some pieces were recorded in a small club or gallery setting (background conversations can be heard during Tujiko Noriko's mournful lullaby “Call My Name”). Marc Marcovic starts the album with an overly melodramatic folk piece, followed by Davide Balula whose winsome tune carries echoes of Radiohead and Sigur Rós. “The Accordion Song” offers a rare chance to hear the melancholy shudder of Colleen's accordion playing while Tarwater exchanges its music's cool, controlled veneer for an aggressive reading of “Tesla.” Free-jazz wailing comes courtesy of The Belgradeyard Sound System (“Sucking on a Bong”) and Chicago Underground Trio (“Othello”) with Rob Mazurek braying a mournful, Ornette-flavoured head before moving on to muted, Cherryesque ruminations.

Despite being dated in parts, Dis_patched remains a good summative overview, though one marred by intrusive announcements from Marc Marcovic at the beginning, as well as others before pieces by Monolake and Luomo. All such unnecessary business could have (and should have) been edited out.

January 2006