CD, Thisco, 2006
What with the number of releases constantly coming out, samplers make for an excellent way to… erm… sample the results of artists’ creative (or not so creative) work, before shelling out your hard-earned cash, getting to know new projects and even helping the labels showcase their rosters. ThisCo, a label that’s been around making a good name for itself for quite a while, gives you two times the bang, for zero times the buck. Yes, “Shock Of This Light” is a free double-CD sampler.
And the best part? It’s really good.
“Shock”, the first of the two discs opens with some powerful D’n’B, courtesy of Shhh… Following that are two somewhat similar (and unfortunately similarly unimpressive) glitchy electro tracks by Flat Opak and Ghoak. In an abrupt change of pace and style, we have “Dark is the new Light”, an ambient piece by The Beautiful Schizophonic which, while flowing along well, is not particularly emotion or thought provoking. “Fuga Transfigurada” is, as the name might imply, a hectic synth fugue, impressively good in its own weird way. Mikroben Krieg’s “Ring Of Noise” returns the pace up to speed with its simple, yet neatly arranged pulses and beats. Slowing down after that, come Sci Fi Industries with the catchy “Gene Talia” (I know..), a funky beat coupled with samples and synthworks in a way granted to make heads move, right before Slow Soldier’s retro electronics skilfully take over, which is not a bad thing at all. [F.E.V.E.R.] up the aggression with a strong synthpop track, ironically followed by sampled prompts to hypnosis in the short, yet well done, “Amber”. “Nomes Esquecidos” provides us with a memorable combination of noise, percussion and female background vox, while Sciencia’s “Interligate” focuses more on the noise and percussion, exchanging the vocals for synths in favour of a brighter, higher pitched track. Rasal.Asad and In Tempus are behind the final track, “Earworm”, which feels much more collected and calm than the previous tracks, offering a good ending point for the first disc.
Disc two, “Light”, begins with an instrumental trip-hop track by Blasaure, before Steamboat and Beeper take us into glitch territory with “Razor Blox” and “Exactly Rude” respectively. Tarrafa’s “Roses//for//Thorns” stands out, not only as the first change in pace for the disc, but also as a great atmospheric industrial piece. “This Sun Always Rise” follows this change, shifting even further from the up-tempo beginning of “Light” with a true Bauhaus-esque offering. Nitya’s “Sinopsexta” is the second piano-only track in the two discs (and a good one at that!), while Zpolura follows suit in an elegant mix of jazz and natural sounds. “Terminus” and “Yawn” share the same dark ambient feel, although the latter sports ethereal vocals which really add to the whole sound. Structura seems to have improved since “Chemin De Fer”, with “Erlebniss” being a worthy addition to the sampler. Cottonoir follows in pretty much the same vein with “Hidraylic Moon”, completing a trio of minimalistic noise-driven sounds with Sal’s “Surface Song”. Saphira’s “Mother Nature”, while nice, seems to be the only track out of place, as the gothic sound and vocals would seem more fitting next to Manifesto’s track.
Generally, the main fault one can find in this sampler is with track placement, which sometimes disrupts the flow of the discs and might lead people to skip or overlook some of the tracks. Otherwise, the sampler is well above par with offerings of similar purpose, and is definitely unmatchable for that price tag (i.e. free).
— George Mouratidis