Various Artists – [2010] SYNTHEMATIKA TWO

Essential industrial synth-pop compilation from the golden age of netlabels.

In only five years from 2009 to 2014, netlabel Synthematik managed to publish over 30 albums or compilations with a matching style, this being my third review and more to come surely. That style is industrial future pop, so distorted sawtooth synth pads galore and half-shouted lyrics abound.

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Various Artists – [2013] FrostWire Creative Commons Mixtape Vol. 4

Professionally produced pop music compilation, endorsed by BitTorrent client

Surprise find while digging through the archive.org backwater: BitTorrent client developer community FrostWire promotes Creative Commons artists on their homepage. This has even lead to them creating 7 mixtapes over the years. So what does no. 4 contain? Surprisingly pleasant pop music!

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Various Artists – [2008] The Silent Ballet, Volume VII: Có Vẻ Như Trời Sẽ Ngớt Mưa

Carefully crafted slightly experimental ambient post rock or drone tracks, with tender vocal tracks throughout.

This marks my fifth review for one of the Silent Ballet compilation entries. This series is – or rather was – centred around ambient post rock, with a focus on experimental artists around the world. This entry is no exception. Mostly calm, slow tracks are featured on this instalment. See which two tracks I after the fold:

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Various Artists – [2006] An Hour Of EMCradio

Sour popsicle assortment of fruity music ranging from dance to weird.

Wow, this one’s old. And good. A treasure trove straight from the (now) good old age of netaudio. Leaning into the eclectic and slightly experimental, this compilation gathers a colourful ensemble of unique styles, from accessible and groovy to outright bizarre. Yet all tracks remain digestible to the uninitiated ear. If you are in for a one hour of very creative yet edgy music, give this release a go.

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Various Artists – [2018] Spirare

Massive electronica and acoustic compilation from acoustic ambient to noisy industrial. Sad it’s over.

The final (as in: last) release by Breathe, a decade long experiment in delivering free compilations, albums and live recordings, based in Mexico. This 29 track collection exhibits the full breadth the label has to offer. And makes my job to only pick 2 tracks all the harder…

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Various Artists – [2018] Netlabel Day 2018: netlabel essentials 4

Annual anthology of selected delikatessen, ranging from July 2017 to 2018.

This essential compilation is brought to you by essential netlabel and podcast outlet netwaves from Belgium, produced for essential annual free music celebration day. If you want to get all 10 tracks of this compilation in one solid mix, look for one hour long track 11, which makes for decent coding backdrop.

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Various Artists – [2020] Fusion Compilation 13

New age instrumental hip hop lounge easy listening compilation. Or something like that.

One year after my review on Fusion Compilation 12, it’s time to pay another tribute to this pillar of the free music scene, specialising in trip hop and related genres. Again, all ten tracks would qualify for a mention here, weren’t it for the competition on this (virtual) disc.

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Various Artists – [2015] The End

Essential dark folk compilation. And a massive one with 48 splendid tracks.

In case you are not perfectly familiar with the darker corners of folk music, give this compilation a try to whet your appetite. The tracks range from cinematic western soundtrack over blue rock to melancholic folklore, in other words: quite versatile for a genre that I otherwise would consider rather narrowly defined.

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Various Artists – [2015] Gold Medal

Music festival promo release by Mexican netlabel MYRDAL, spanning indie rock to indie pop.

A recent dive into the deep waters of the Internet Archive yielded MYRDAL from Mexico, apparently active since 2012 and still releasing music. So I gave their back catalogue (35 items) a spin and found this compilation, which I serve you today. Popular music, but with local flavour in vocals and style.

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Various Artists – [2008] 月餅

Exceptionally varied compilation of experimental to conventional electronica from Phonocake.

It’s hard to talk about a release who’s name you cannot pronounce, and more genres included than I possibly could fit into this tiny review. Ranging from art pieces that you would expect screening in an avant-garde museum opening. The comparison is fitting, as this whole release is a nice marker for the state of Creative Commons music in the late 2000’s on both ends of the creative spectrum.

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