Various Artists – [2019] Fusion Compilation 12

Versatile trip hop compilation. From ethnic ambient to catchy pop rock, all genres may apply.

Over 5 years after my review on Fusion Compilation 8, I return to this netlabel with their most recent instalment to the series. Comparing both compilations back to back highlights how professional the free music scene has become during the course of the decade: all ten tracks have major-label grade production, crisp recording and tight arrangements. Which tracks am I gonna highlight?

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Professor Kliq – [2011] Athene’s Theory of Everything OST

Cinematic electronica with little percussion, but lots of atmosphere.


While I cannot recommend you to watch the movie this album is the original score to, I very much endorse its soundtrack. To paraphrase, the “documentary” is either a very crude joke or a blunt hoax by an internet celebrity. But under the ludicrous voice track, there is an ambient electronic masterpiece by Professor Kliq.

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Brk – [2015] IIIIII

Ice-cold dub techno, the gin tonic of music. Edgy synths, minimal harmonies, and subdued percussion.

Dub techno is not for every day. It has a distinct lack of mood, neither happy nor sad. Then there’s the minimal harmonies, the long-form stretches of monotonous monotony. So what’s to like? Actually, I don’t really know. But on certain days, the meditative nature, the lack of a clear mood, and the analytical sound just work.

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Various Artists – [2007] Classic Accidents

Clicky, surprisingly upbeat deep house from Mainz, with one or two experimental slippages.

This vintage collection of rather minimal danceable tracks does not compromise on its concept to please. Dry clicks and noisy effects are sprinkled liberally across the whole 12-track ensemble. But that playfulness in texture is well balanced by minimal harmonies and repetitive (not to say catchy) song structures.

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Various Artists – [2007] Share It Spread It Love It

Antique pop compilation. From the rather early days of high quality free music publishing.

At the time, trying to publish music outside the traditional channels (music labels) was still quite out of the ordinary. No Bandcamp, no Jamendo, no Free Music Archive. All those only came to life during the last 10 years. If you this release’s style, have a listen to the curators other compilations, mixes and podcasts, all neatly stored for our future pleasure. But now, lend my two picks an ear (or two):

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Botany Bay – [2009] I’ll Send a Postcard When I’m There

Intriguing blend of rock and mild doses of electro served with great vocals.

Only 6 tracks, but hard to pin point in genre space. Eclectic rock could be a way to describe it.
Airy and light sound, blended with occasional patches of electro or more exotic sounds, makes for a great variety.

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Bazooka Circus – [2010] Elephant

(Past) owners of a 8 or 16 bit gaming console can apply here for a shower of fond memories.

This album has seen the light of day on an artist collective’s account named Gluteus Maximus, from Sweden.

It strongly reminds me of Hardstroke‘s electro-synth sound, but has its own edge by adding more 8-bit bleeps to the mix. Heavy pop nostalgia ahead!

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Colt – [2006] Colt

Old gem from a former German netlabel.

Honest alternative rock from German’s not-so-wild west. In this 4 track long EP it is no single song but rather the strict adherence to the slick, pop-compatible archetype of alt rock sound which sticks out to me. This makes the 14 minutes a perfect ingredient for a long drive mixtape (ok, playlist).

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Planet Boelex – [2010] Raja

Majestic ambient electronica. Slowly building soundscapes with deliberate beats like pillars.

I have already praised Planet Boelex much in an earlier review about their 2009 album. One year later, they put out another EP, both illustratively (cover art) and acoustically (songs) high above the clouds. Unlike last time, this is a solo release without featured vocals.

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Acrilic Colors – [2007] Thing From Another World

Classic ambient IDM from Kahvi. If you like frosty but soft electronica, look no further.

Kahvi is one of the most reliable labels, both in terms of style and quality. IDM and cold electronica is their theme. This release is no exception: with only 5 tracks, this EP still clocks in at over half an hour of music.
If you like the two rather ambient sample tracks, also try track 2. Groove o’clock for a more dynamic impression.

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