CD, Brume Records/Kod.eX, 2009
Reaching its fourth year of existence in December 2009, the Parisian association Kod.eX teamed up with Brume Records to release a music compilation to celebrate the occasion. Compiled by DJ Kyronn, the double-disc “Kod.eX Compilation” showcases the work of most of the artists who performed at past Kod.eX events. This is one of those compilations that could well be a mixed bag but the fact that it is quite solid throughout is certainly testimony to the care that was put into selecting the talent that performed at the Kod.eX events and, one hopes, an indication of what might come in the future.
Despite the expected strong French presence, the track list for both discs reveals something of a ‘who’s who’ of international underground electronic talent, with many of these artists having performed at Kod.eX events before becoming achieving their current relative prominence. Disc one is perhaps the most coherent of the two and also the easiest listen, evolving from dark ambient to electro, through subtle electronic and IDM to dub and darker soundscapes, industrial hip-hop, tribal, ritual and breakbeats. Disc two, on the other hand, despite a relatively chilled tribal beginning, has a stronger focus on harder sounds, mainly rhythmic noise and industrial along with some cyberpunk thrown in for good measure. The flow on both discs is also quite remarkable, especially considering the variety of styles presented, making them quite enjoyable listens from beginning to end (though disc two may feels just a bit confusing in the final tracks).
Among such a wealth of talent, it’s quite difficult to objectively decide on this compilation’s highlights. Though material by better-known names like This Morn’ Omina, Iszoloscope (through the remix of a Cenotype original), Roger Rotor, Detritus, Cdatakill and the Flint Glass/Tzolk’in/Empusae ‘trinity’ correspond to what one would expect, it’s perhaps the lesser-known artists (some of whom have achieved greater international notoriety in the recent past) who deliver quite a few pleasant surprises. Dither’s subtle electronics, Sonic Area’s haunting soundscapes and Le Diktat’s particular brand of industrial hip-hop are definite highlights of disc one while, on disc two, Chrysalide’s aggressive cyberpunk, Ex_tension’s electro-industrial and Fractional’s manic d’n’b are particularly deserving of attention (and, if Fractional’s track is any indication, the coming album on Brume/Tympanik Audio should be interesting).
In a nutshell, the “Kod.eX Compilation” is an excellent compilation that successfully integrates a variety of seemingly unrelated styles into a coherent whole with nearly flawless flow – a testimony of the talent and skill of those involved in the Kod.eX nights, from the organizers to the artists who performed there. Definitely a must for anyone interested in good music.
— Miguel de Sousa