VA: Exhibition #3
Audiobulb Records

Exhibition #3 celebrates Audiobulb Records' third year of activity with a fourteen-song collection of its artists' explorative works. Naturally we expect to hear ambient settings and electroacoustic pieces during the hour-long set, but perhaps the biggest surprise is the inclusion of uptempo cuts, like Cedar A.V.'s “A Talon for the Flywheel (Remix for the Roots of Orchis)” whose rollicking percussive sway invites a post-rock label as much as any other. In addition, recent signing Nomad Palace drops one of the strongest tracks in “Some of Their Backs Were Frozen,” a burbling slice of bass-heavy Dabryesque propulsion that's over too quickly. Equally distinctive, Ultre's “Cinece” merges elegant piano episodes with bold rhythm clatter and violent string scrapings. Elsewhere, hiccupping fields of voice snippets and instrument fragments coalesce in glitchier treatments like Rodolphe Kuffer's “Leucippe” while a vaguely African feel courses through Calika's “Blue Stem Crater” and Bllix's “Defailir” exudes a delicate breeziness reminiscent of Plaid.

At times one wishes the contributors would ease up on the glitch dimension, though. The soft melodies in Marion 's “Detache” hardly require the incessant chatter of clicks for accompaniment, and the glistening harp patterns in Taavi Tulev's “Kontakt” are almost negated by the song's unsubtle throb. The album is sequenced effectively, though, gravitating conspicuously into quieter zones during its final third before vaporizing with Another Electronic Musician's “This Time” at disc's end. Also featuring contributions from Effacer, Build, Disastrato, and Henry Leo Duclos, Exhibition #3's quality and range bolster Audiobulb's reputation as a legitimate experimental label.

June 2006