CD, Section 44 Records, 2005
Section 44 Records return with a new volume that showcases four artists, both new talent, and more seasoned acts in the synthpop/new wave genre.
First up we have a debut from San Diego based MODyssey. From the offset you can already tell that this particular act have built themselves around a heavily analogue driven sound. Fans of very early 80’s synthpop may find their sound appealing and, in most circumstances, I would tend to agree that it does have a certain charm and grace if done correctly. Their particular sound however, doesn’t appeal. The overall production of the music is fairly poor, with what seems to be little effort put into the vocal aspect of the tracks. Also, most of the tracks tend to drag out and not actually lead anywhere. I couldn’t help but think that maybe this wasn’t the best choice as an opener to the compilation.
On first look, if any of the names on the compilation were to grab your attention, it would be Endanger. Having already established themselves as an electropop force to be reckoned with from various remixes for other artists, to countless other compilation appearances, it is to no surprise that this section of the compilation is quite possibly the strongest. The opening remix from (the now defunct) NamNamBulu is nothing short of spectacular. Followed by the very dance floor orientated ‘Victory Of The Heart’, you just get the feeling that Endanger just know how to write good, accessible upbeat pop songs. My only qualm with this section is that the all the tracks were released in October 2004 on the debut album “Addicted To The Masses”, and some new material would have made the compilation better value for money.
Possibly the greatest enjoyment of purchasing various artist compilations is discovering new talent. Rhythmic Symphony make their personal debut on this compilation, and an impressive one it is to. With Joey Belville of The Echoing Green and various members of Tristraum at the production helm, it is no wonder that this is of reasonably high quality. They approach their music with a very warm touch that has made modern synthpop and new wave so popular amongst fans of the genre. The track “Self-Possessed” blends a catchy melody with a sense of angelic harmony, which leaves the listener with a greater feeling of calm. Following in the same vein as the afore mentioned track, “Shards Of Scarlet” again, brings a much needed mellow touch to the compilation. The latter tracks “Find Me” and “Too Afraid”, although not as strong as the first two offerings, still manage to keep the listeners attention. I for one will be waiting for this bands first album release with baited breath.
Last but by no means least, we have Provision. This act’s popularity just seems to go from strength to strength. With tracks such as “Could’ve Had It All” and “Visualize” (both of which appear remixed here) already being club hits in the U.S., you can see great things lying ahead in the foreseeable future for them. Self-described as “electronic dance with an edge”, Provision seem to fuse all the elements of electro-synthpop with their own unmistakable grit. The stand out track for me had to be Rename’s club mix of “Visualize” which offers more EBM-based rhythmical patterns to the original, and would probably be a good introduction track for fans of lighter electro and futurepop. The four tracks featured here are also exclusive to this compilation.
Overall, a fairly entertaining and educating release that will certainly get a lot of play.
— Paul Marcham