VA: Now 01

Now here's a great idea: release four 12-inch discs in a compilation series and then collect them onto a CD as a comprehensive label overview, allowing the listener to either graze on the smaller portions or feast on the full-course meal (future participants include Underscanners Dalezy, Onethema, Rod and Menu:Exit as well as Scanner, Frank Bretschneider, Everest, Quench, Fibla, and more).

While subsequent installments will no doubt emphasize other styles, the first puts the label's mechanoid leanings on full display. All four tracks situate themselves firmly within the IDM/electronic music tradition, yet all are distinctly different too. Autechre and AFX influences are audible in the opener “Brim” when Funckarma (Netherlanders Don and Roel Funcken, two-thirds of Shadow Huntaz) drops a breathless display of frenetic pinball skitter alongside rumbling bass pulses and intermittent washes. The title of Gram's (Graham Love) “Keep Your Head Above Water” belies its subterranean sound, as a lethal bass pulse lumbers through an ominous undertow of cranium-rattling throbs and thwacks. Pulsating electronic shivers mix with coiled beat splatter for the majority of Somshit's (Akira Sawada) “Elz Zupper” but a delectable hiccup signals the track's final ascension with the unexpected addition of churchy chords. Pytlik's (Menu:Exit member Ralf Pytlik) “Atmachb” arrives as a warm and inviting coda, coming after the more clinical ambiance of the other three. Here lush, almost classical melodies chime serenely over languidly floating beats, bringing this strong opening chapter in the series to an idyllic close.

May 2005