VA: Goodnight: Music To Sleep By

Given its roster of provocateurs like Kid 606, Cex, and Lesser, one expects releases from the California-based Tigerbeat6 label to be raucous, hyperkinetic affairs. But Goodnight: Music To Sleep By is as atypical a Tigerbeat6 release as one could possibly imagine, its music the kind more commonly associated with labels like Fällt, Touch, and Mille Plateaux. Three years in the making, it's 130 minutes of sublime meditative electronica by Kid 606, Stephan Mathieu, Kurt Ralske, Electric Company, Pimmon, Tim Hecker, MAIN, and Oren Ambarchi.

The musical pieces were created, apparently, with the primary intent of inducing a trance-like state of mind that might lull the listener to sleep. This artistic directive suggests that the tracks might be of a Richard Chartier character, similar to the sub-threshold microscopic music he releases on his LINE label. Far from it: while the collection's sixteen tracks do adhere to a low-level, at times subliminal, template, there are ample volume contrasts and compositional developments throughout. Kid 606's “Mighty Morphine (Before and After Part 3),” for example, hardly sounds becalmed when its hammering bass tones echo throughout. And far from being an homogenous, extended drone which subsumes the eight artists' personalities, the compositions clearly evidence their creators' unique imprints, be it the shimmering, crystalline static of Stephan Mathieu's “A Pillow for Sue” or the mesmerizing fluidity of Tim Hecker's 14-minute DSP epic “Indigo Aerial.”

Australia 's Pimmon (Paul Gough), Kid 606, and Stephan Mathieu each contribute three pieces of widely contrasting character. For example, Pimmon's “Minimal Slee” teems with nocturnal insectoid scrapings and scratching, whereas Mathieu's gorgeous “A Drinking Song (Für Katja)” is almost orchestral in tone. Reminiscent of the more ambient side of P.S. I Love You, Kid 606's pieces were constructed using guitar and laptop. Billowing clusters of guitars are readily identifiable on “Circumvent (Before and After Part 1)” but his sound sources are transformed on “Enemic” into spectral glistenings. Elsewhere, Robert Hampson (aka MAIN ) contributes the ghostly, isolationist “Cede,” Electric Company (Brad Laner) simulates a band of gamelan musicians on “With Iliac Aport 2,” and Oren Ambarchi closes out the recording with an hypnotic 21-minute guitar meditation “Stacte.4b ver.2.” Put simply, Goodnight: Music To Sleep By is a remarkable collection of ambient music.

September 2003