VA: Rojo.Tachan.Nosordo

How do you get noticed when your compilation must compete for attention alongside so many others? Put Latex Pussy by German artist Boris Hoppek on the cover, for starters, and then ensure that the music accompanying it captivates too. Generally, that is the case on Rojo.Tachan.Nosordo, a 77-minute, fifteen-track co-operative venture (only two pieces previously released) from the Spanish magazine ROJO and the Nosordo label, primarily because it's a decidedly more folk-based collection than is the norm, with guitar the predominating instrument.

Some pieces hew to a drone style (the crackly violin loops of Kristine Barrett's “Marie Rosa” and the rippling haze of Gregg Kowalsky's “Egress Regret”) while others favour a more traditional yet equally engaging approach; Conduo Orchestra's “Referencia” starts out as a static, glitchy setting of guitars and piano but gradually escalates into a swaying, trumpet-enhanced hoe-down. The bluesy slide melancholia of Det Svenska Folket's “Lang Ferd” is especially effective, as is Ljudbilden & Piloten's lovely “Martin, gracias por la guitarra,” with its delicate guitar plucks sweetened by the soft touch of a melodica and caressed by horns. Contributions by Tuk (Belgian artist Guillaume Graux), Kama Aina, Gros, and Cineplexx (Sebastian Litmanovich) are all credible too.

Rojo.Tachan.Nosordo also includes abrasive settings (Son of Clay's eight-minute dissonant noisescape “Spring to Come” and Henrik Rylander's relentless tsunami of grinding bulldozer pulses, “Transmission of Mechanical Influences with Repetition and Happiness”) which do add contrast but also sully the nuanced and understated ambiance cultivated by the other pieces. Argentinean artist Luis Maurette's “In Between (edit),” a hazy, industrial collage of breathing sounds and field elements, is more palatable but it too pales when heard alongside the eminently more musical “Martin, gracias por la guitarra.” Despite such caveats, the collection offers more than its share of affecting moments.

August 2005