Released: 1999 (Russia)
I was familiar with a few of the Russian artists featured on this CD--most notably Solar X, whose Little Pretty Automatic is featured at this site, and Fizzarum, who have an mp3 site I've visited repeatedly. The other artists, from Lazyfish and Kustota to T.A.N.D.E.M. and SCSI-9, are unknown to me. However, this won't last. After my first listen to this album, I was rushing to the Mu web site to check out the other music by these amazing artists. Clearly, in the past few years, Russia has taken center stage in the world of experimental electronic music; the work on this album is as mature, as intelligent, and as powerful as anything put out on the Warp label in the UK, Music Aus Strom in Germany, or Schematic in the US. There are certainly some comparisons that can be made between some of these artists and their western counterparts. The songs generally fall into the building block, medium tempo, red-to-white category where many IDM albums reside. Much of the music does, indeed, remind me of Aphex or Autechre or even Jake Mandell. But "reminding me" of an artist is not the same as sounding like or even resembling an artist. This music holds its own with no effort whatsoever. Take Eu's "Chi." The echoing effect in the beginning of the song is a weird algamation of dub and IDM; I've never heard it before; it's original, as is the rest of the song, which takes that echo and adds it to more traditional CGD blips and beeps. The next song, DJ Compass Vrubell's "Captain of the Loo," mixes fucked-up horns with backwards vocals. [Oddly, the backward vocals sound a lot like the Russian forward vocals.] There are plenty of other highlights on this collection: 13, actually. But I won't bore you with more details. Check it out for yourself. Perhaps the best part of this album beside the music is the ready accessibility of these artists: almost every one has a web site, and while not all the sites are in English (most are in Russian), their music is nevertheless readily available. Take advantage of this: that's what the Internet is for, after all. And make sure you grab yourself a copy of this album. It is worth any import price.
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