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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Various Artists – [2008] Breathe 02

Essential listen for downtempo enthusiasts. Different artists cover wide range of styles.

Breathe Compilations is a (former?) Mexican netlabel that – surprise – specialises in releasing compilations, active between 2008 and 2018 (as of 2020). Although the label’s back catalogue (92 releases) has not seen an addition for almost 2 years, its Soundcloud profile buzzes with activity. So I don’t fully call off any hope for a comeback. But in the meantime, I could as well review one of its earliest releases:

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My Heart Your Thunder – [2019] My Heart Your Thunder

Timeless electro goodness with edgy synth sounds.

My Heart, Your Thunder (MHYT) has approached me to review one or some of his tracks; some e-mails later, and here we have a special mini-compilation; he even was so generous to offer the lossless sources. So more than ever: if you like what you hear, visit the artist’s original profile (here: Bandcamp) and get some more music there. To stick to my rule, here are the obligatory 2 (out of 6) hand-picked tracks:

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Kenny Beltrey – [2000] Hydrate

Vintage electronica goodness. Early good stuff from Kahvi.

It’s just a single track, but one of Kahvi’s finest classic releases very back in time…

… see, this release is so old, it was released under version 1 of Creative Commons’ Attribution (CC BY 1.0), long before version 2 were to be launched in 2004.

Why am I not talking about this release? Because you will listen to it in full (only 4:25) now:

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Electric Mirrors – [2016] UFO Stories

Slightly dark synth-pop at its best. Stomping beats and almost spoken vocals included.

If Depeche Mode and David Byrne did a collaboration (maybe they did? didn’t check), it might sound like Electric Mirrors.
Densely produced songs, with no second wasted on padding, are filled from start to finish with lyrical puns, glockenspiel interludes or gently sprinkled in ’90s pop music references.

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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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Various Artists – [2010] netwaves 04.28: new beats

Deep House compilation. Fusion of podcast (as a 60 minute mix track) and compilation (10 individual tracks) in one free format.

Excellent, long running series of netlabel compilations, having amassed over 450 episodes between 2006 and 2018. This compilation features tracks from netlabels Budabeats, Broque, and others. Continue reading “Various Artists – [2010] netwaves 04.28: new beats”

BitBasic – [2009] Sprinkling Rainbows

Pop master of glitch. Jazzy electronica, made from scrambled samples and lots of groove.

Ever heard of the genre “drill & bass”? No? Me neither. Imagine a DJ aiming for dance music, but only equipped with 90’s Disco/Pop/Funk/Techno tapes, a pair of scissors (blunt) and a synthesizer. Yes, the result might take more than the first listening to appreciate, but the sheer amount of funk, groove and rhythm that oozes out of every track is great! Let me show you what I mean by listening to these three tracks: Continue reading “BitBasic – [2009] Sprinkling Rainbows”

Various Artists – [2010] Intelligent Toys: We Make Music

Essential experimental IDM. 3 discs, 51 tracks of IDM à la Sutemos are an earful to chew on. Bring popcorn!

This compilation series by netlabel Sutemos is a little bit like vegetables: they are good for you, but they might not taste good at first. This release contains many different flavours, musical vitamins, experiments in sound design, genre-branching dubstep, IDM, cerebral techno, and lots of electro goodness in general. But, the sound is often outside the realm of “standard” harmony, often even completely devoid of it. Like these sentences, it takes some time to wrap one’s head around. So, if you are looking for easy listening while coding, please move on. If you want to enrich a late night party with an eccentric musical backdrop, give it a spin… Continue reading “Various Artists – [2010] Intelligent Toys: We Make Music”

Coax – [2008] Aeons

Frosty ambient IDM with class. Very versatile EP with fully ambient to almost danceable tracks. A real classic, published at Kahvi.

Back in 2009, I started this series of reviews with Coax’s The Ice Garden. Ever since, I was hesitant to write another review on the same artist. But I have done so multiple times over the years now, so it’s time to finally break the spell and give Coax their second review. Their music deserves it, after all: frosty, ambient IDM, released at the notorious Kahvi netlabel, well known for delivering quality electronica by truck. Continue reading “Coax – [2008] Aeons”