V/A – Deep Sea Shipping

V/A - Deep Sea Shipping

CD, Lagunamuch Community, 2006
www.lagunamuch.com

It is undisputable that the writings of H. P. Lovecraft have had a profound impact in the horror literature field but the influence of the Cthulhu Mythos as a source of inspiration is also felt in many other fields and music is no exception. The most recent example is perhaps a compilation of Russian electronic musicians from the young Lagunamuch Community record label. Titled “Deep Sea Shipping”, this compilation takes its inspiration from the descriptions of the sea beyond the fictional maritime town of Kingsport, setting for tales such as “The Strange High House in the Mist” and “The Terrible.
“Deep Sea Shipping” is a themed label sampler compilation, perhaps the most difficult form of compilation to put together and which generally is hit-or-miss, made even more difficult by the chosen subject matter. To their credit the Lagunamuch crew succeeded admirably in their endeavour. Not only did they capture the mystery and melancholic essence of this corner of Lovecraft’s fiction but they also succeeded in giving it a contemporaneous twist of sorts, a feeling of modern exploration (though purists may disagree). Considering the number of artists involved, it is remarkable is how coherent “Deep Sea Shipping” is, aurally and thematically, flowing seamlessly throughout and always keeping close to the chosen theme and inspiration. From the town of Kingsport to the depths of the sea abyss, the listener is effortlessly taken on a highly immersive aural journey, which covers a wide breadth of electronic music styles, from experimental ambient to idm, electronica, dub and glitch, and is permeated throughout by an almost palpable sense of ‘depth’. While not essential, use of headphones will go a long way to fully appreciate and live “Deep Sea Shipping”.
Pointing out highlights in “Deep Sea Shipping” is probably doing a disservice to a release works best as a whole, but a few compositions may grab one’s attention. The descent into the depths begins with contrasting compositions: while Selffish’s offering has a certain groove to it, Lazyfish opts for a playful soundcollage and Abstract Avenue returns the groove with a deep bass that accompanies a shifting, almost ominous soundscape. With Unit21 and Oloolo’s tracks, one is taken into the field of aural experimentalism, particularly by the latter with a somewhat disconcerting but not totally unpleasant track. Sever, Riverz End pick up the torch with deep technoïd tracks that culminate in Holden’s dub and tribal-influenced “W.K.W.W.D.”. In “A Shifting Reef”, Batiskaf’s presents what is perhaps one of the most cinematic tracks in this compilation with the intelligent interaction between guitar, beats, melody and sample use. “Frozen Morning”, a seemingly simple ambient glitch piece by Kriipis Tulo, is undoubtedly enriched by the siren-like voice sampling and leads into the depths of the abyss in the concluding pieces by Father? and 0id.
“Deep Sea Shipping” is an excellent piece of work that deserves attention not only for being a collection of great music but also for being such a thematically and aurally coherent compilation which makes for an extremely engaging listening experience. Truly essential listening for anyone interested in good music in general and aural landscapes in particular, it is also a glimpse of the talent that is blooming in Russia in the field of electronic music.

[9/10]

— Miguel de Sousa