Assorted Performers – Drinking the Goat’s Blood + Electric Carpets

Various - Drinking The Goat's Blood Various - Electric Carpets

CD + CD, Record Label Records, 2010
www.recordlabelrecords.org

The Californian label Record Label Records is already well known for having released material from famous musicians of the experimental/underground electronic scene, such as Contagious Orgasm, Scorn and Brian English, to name a few. This time they chose to showcase a wide range of interesting artists through a couple of compilations, respectively titled “Drinking the Goat’s Blood” and “Electric Carpets”. The first one is mainly focused on sound research and experimental music, whereas the second one offers more electronica-based (in the broadest sense of the term), danceable material.

Tracks on “Drinking the Goat’s Blood” can indeed fit into the experimental genre, but not in the noisiest, most non-musical sense. All of these pieces actually hold a genuine musicality, sparkled with weird, innovative sounds which seem to be the fruit of pretty sick minds. As a matter of fact, this compilation features a quite impressive cast of renowned artists, as well as lesser known but still very promising ones (see for yourself: Mike Dunkley, Wobbly, Column One, Candle Labra, Ata Ebtekar, Nommo Ogo, Wisp, Dalglish, Senryl, Koyxen, Contagious Orgasm, Fluorescent Grey, Sean Niessen, Jacob Jarnigon, Upside Down Umbrella, Tomoroh Hidari, 10-20, Bloodysnowman and Yoshihide Nakajima).
Some of them, such as Wobbly and Dalglish, display some more musique concrète-oriented works, while Nommo Ogo and Wisp follow the path of dark, organic IDM. On the other hand, industrial scene’s veteran Contagious Orgasm provides us with his trademark type of sounds, mesmerizing and upsetting at the same time. We’re even granted with an unpublished song from a self-released, unfairly obscure minimal wave act from the ’80s: Senryl. It’s also worth mentioning that the downloadable version of this comp contains three bonus tracks, including the American debut from the Japanese artist Yoshihide Nakajima, which consists mainly of field recordings of cracklings and tinklings.

“Electric Carpets” sets a completely different mood, as it opens with the analog synth pads and vintage drum machines of “Hello Zhomgmao”, an old school electro cinematic track from Cubus. That kind of sets the tone. Brian E follows with a typical example of his synth-prog pop trademark sound, irresistibly catchy as always. Then we’re plunged into the more complex structures and weirder sounds of Fluorescent Grey, and the sonic journey continues even deeper. The musical universes explored here are numerous, but generally based on softer, clearer sounds than in the previous compilation. Kossak, for example, brings some tribal percussions mixed with some more modern, occidental ingredients, while Kush Arora samples some flutes. Some of the artists on “Electric Carpets”, like Scuzi, create a bit darker atmospheres, but the general feeling of the record is pretty much lighter (a bunch of jolly good fellows: Cubus, Dr. Strangeloop, Kcinsu, William Braintree, Future Image, Identity Theft, Kossak, Scuzi, Brian E, Exillon, Dimentia, Not Breathing, Terminal 11, BD1982, Fluorescent Grey, Mike Dunkley, wAgAwAgA and Kush Arora).

The online version holds three bonus tracks from Exillon, Dimentia, and Brian E – who this time gifts us with “Wild River”, an even catchier song reminiscent of some ’70s and ’80s TV show credits: kitsch but powerful. A nice way to close this collection of original tracks that are worthwhile discovering. These two compilations are a must have for anyone who is always searching for new music which veers away from the beaten track.

[8/10]

— Olivier Noel