VA: Quality Electronic Music
Ai Records

The Ai empire continues to grow with its 12-inch picture disc Quality Electronic Music spotlighting eight new signings to the UK label, all of whom indicate 2006 should prove as spectacular a year for Ai devotees as 2005. As many contributors cite the same influences (Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada), some commonality naturally emerges, with many producing material that echoes the clean and melodic style heard on recent label outings from Yunx and Jacen Solo. The Ai garb fits Rootsix perfectly, judging by the gleaming electro-house of “Just One of Those Things,” and Biologic and Pathic (John Cranmer) sound equally at home on their respective tracks (“Crystal Violet” and “Triangulation”) where dramatic washes and mellow tones drape over bubbly beats and churning electro-funk. Sensiva (Russia-born Artem Galukhin) adds a slippery hip-hop strut to his spacey “44100 th Galaxy” while Tomcats In Tokyo (French duo Fabrice Rey and Fabrice Marsaud) build “Telophasic Céphalée” into a driving mass of rumbling beats and blistering squelches. Only Moonjean's “Someday My Prints Will Come” departs dramatically in style (though that shouldn't surprise too much, given that she identifies Glen Campbell, Bread, and The Carpenters as influences). Michigan-based Jeanie Moon-Gatrops creates a lovely setting from marimba, synths, acoustic guitar, and her own treated voice in a style that recalls Melodic more than Ai. No matter how similar or dissimilar their material, the new recruits are concerned less with inciting revolutions than in perpetuating Ai's rep for quality production, and in that regard they succeed admirably.

March 2006