Well, now this is an unexpected treat from the wildwoods of Cumbria, England. Jonathan Sharp (New Mind et al) and some friends of his have created a label for their rather eclectic electronic work. Four artists are featured on this disc (the first of a series, I am informed) and they run the gamut of what can only be called "electronic" music in the broaded, barest sense of the word.
Congavata take us out of the dock with five tracks of mangled beats, unearthly atmospheres and bizarre samples. I quite like the track "Stonehaven" because it is so leftfield in comparison to what I've heard in the so-called "intelligent" genre. Next comes KU, tracking in with two compositions of which both are great examples of ambience done tastefully and not aimlessly. I look forward to hearing more of what Nick Smith and Neil Riley do in the future. Takla Makan give us The Stone Helit Trilogy and I think parts two and three of this work "The Dark House" and "Susan" are excellent.
Closing out this comp is Jonathan Sharp's new side-project simply entitled Vent. Now, to understand this one epic track, you have to take each of the three movements. The first is perhaps his take on salsa or latin styled electronic music, I don't know but it's goddamned freakish, in a good way. The second movement is dark and droney and sort of reminds me of some of the work on Andrew Lagowski's "Ashita" album, but without the subconscious sub base. And the third final part of "O'Hare" bleeds off in strange, shifting uneasiness. That is the best way I can put it. This project harkens back to some of the Freezone work he did waaaay back in the early 90:s but with much more authority and risk-taking. Very brave and very original. Recommended.
If you can find this compilation, it will serve notice that there is a lot going on in England outside of the bland banality that is Warp Records. Hats off, gentlemen and thank you for such inspired, sonic experimental brilliance!