VA: Everything Is Green

Toytronic weighs in with a hefty sixteen-track comp featuring new and lesser known artists (Maps and Diagrams perhaps the most familiar name) with melodic IDM the overriding style, specifically the kind associated with Warp's Autechre and Plaid in their earlier incarnations; only Marvin Kirk and Phase Mojo (Caine Hopkin) deviate markedly from the template with snarling drum & bass (“256 Volts for Breakfast”) and aggressive breakbeats (“Resistant Access”) respectively.

Of the fourteen artists included, two in particular stand out: Koordinate of Wonders (Anton and Yuri from Minsk) and Abfahrt Hinwil (Toytronic 'residents' Martin Haidinger and Chris Cunningham), both of whom contribute two tracks apiece. While Koordinate of Wonders' “Seventh Spectrum” effectively contrasts slamming clatter and sparse synth sparkles, the duo's pairing of Autechrian machine clanks with Schnauss-like soaring melodies in “Horizontal Rain (+5U Pro)” impresses more. In “Everything Is Green,” Abfahrt Hinwil steals an electrofunk base from Kraftwerk's “Computerworld” and overlays it with careening synth effects, and later conjures affecting ambience in “Of 1.” Also noteworthy are the soothing melodies of Boc Scadet's (Lawrence Grover) “Sel Alterat,” What Kind of Sound's imaginative “Recital,” where glistening church melodies collide with swooping beats and handclaps, and Cultek's (Phil Bolland and Robert Smith) “Minds Beyond” which maps a galaxy of cascading swirls and reverberant snarls across a thunderous ten minutes.

Admittedly the comp provides no shortage of squealing synths, growling bass slabs, and idyllic synth chimes, and, yes, Point 7's grimy beats, skuzzy bass surges, and skyward synth flares (“Higher Contrast Information”) do make an impression. But, as generous a collection (all seventy-eight minutes of it) and as well-crafted as Everything Is Green is, there's little here that's truly innovative, and the collection ultimately ends up sounding a bit quaint.

January 2005