CD, Alien Productions, 2007
Fans of VNV Nation, Apoptygma Berzerk, Project Pitchfork and ‘good old Synthpop’ will be pleased to find a little nostalgic niche here, as Alien Productions seem to have a fine stable of soundalike artists primed and ready to go. But amid the sometimes repetitive and often overused sample-led stylings of Tabor Radosti and Polygon, to name but a few (and the less said about Gaping Chasm’s odious offering, “Running Fight,” the better), there are some real gems.
The opening track, “Industrial Boy” (OTX meets Kenji Siratori), has a slow start, but builds well to a hard-edged crescendo, Xabec’s “Open State (Re-Programmed Rmx by Mnemonic)” is a dreamy, glitch-ridden beauty of a soundscape, Oxyd’s “Suspiria” has a gentle, trance-tinged reflective quality while Stendeck’s sampler closer, “The Thin Light Between The Trees,” presents the listener with a sweet, wistful confection shot through with a jittery yet optimistic vein that sits well with the rest while still managing to be just that little bit better. The undisputed star of the show is the Flint Glass track, “At Takwi,” a slice of sensual eeriness with a filthy, yet compelling, undertone that certainly warrants more than one listen to appreciate the true depth and scope of this work; my only complaint being that it’s only 6.08 minutes long!
In conclusion, it is no surprise that a lot of what’s on offer here is similar, as it is after all a label sampler rather than a stand-alone compilation, and unfortunately some less than inspired tracks do tend to blur at the borders while other genuinely good (if a little generic) offerings are overshadowed by their placement alongside superior artists (Oxyd especially suffer from following the Flint Glass contribution). But with artists like Flint Glass, Stendeck and Xabec on board (all of whom I will be seeking out further material by on the strength of their contributions here), it would certainly be worth keeping an eye on this label’s progress for the foreseeable future.
— Catherine C.