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V/A – A Compilation Vol.2

V/A - A Compilation Vol.2

CD, Black Rain, 2007

Generally speaking, reviewing any compilation is a daunting task – more often than not, each individual track has some aspect that makes it stand out (for good or ill…) from all the others. In this case, the difficulty level was reduced somewhat by the separation of the compilation into two diametrically opposed genres of music on separate discs, inappropriately labeled as Inorganic and Organic.
The tracklisting of disc one reads almost like a “who’s who” within the dark electro scene, with only a few stalwarts being left in the cold. What strikes me as unique about this set is the homogeneity of the music – everything could, to an inexperienced listener, be the work of one artist, rather than fourteen: very similar instrumentation, vocal effects and tempo across the board, with 90% of the songs even being written in the same key. In fact, only one track really exhibits individual character – Feindflug take home my best performance award, for “AK47” – an unrelenting instrumental that stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of production quality, mood and arrangement.
Disc two was a bit of a stretch: where the first disc is almost purely dark electro, the second floats between neo-folk, ethereal, darkwave – even ambient and IDM (from Flint Glass and Oil 10’s contributions, respectively)! These last two artists, from the Funkwelten label, were by far the most interesting on offer here. The remainder of the disc is quite beautiful, vocally speaking, but the music is passionless and sterile. Thus my complaint: I fail to see how the compilers equate music representative of entropy with growth and life. If they had been trying to suggest that disc one were more machine-like in its production, they need only have listened to acts like Killing Ophelia and Reliquary on the second disc to see similar synthesizer and virtual instrument usage. Personally, I would sooner have labeled the discs “Angry” and “Whiny”, or possibly, “Depressed” and “More Depressed”, but I don’t think that would be sound marketing…
As it is, I don’t see this compilation as being a big seller. The huge gap between genres makes it an improbable choice for purists, and the fact that no unreleased or exclusive material is included makes it an unlikely DJ purchase. Possibly the only interest this can generate is among the uninitiated, or curious, seeking to learn more about the disparate genres in the modern goth scene. Disc one and two, as individual entities, would score a 7 and a 5, respectively, but taken as a whole they manage a resounding 4/10.


— David vander Merwe

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