V/A, Cashier Escape Route
City Centre Offices
Released: November 2000
According to Germany's City Centre Offices, this disk is "a compilation of modern supermarket music." Supermarket music? Well, imagine a supermarket run by Kraftwerk and you'll get the idea. This is an amazingly fun and inventive disk, featuring some of the brightest stars in IDM (Pole, Solvent, To Rococo Rot, Phonem, ISAN, Arovane, and Lexaunculpt) and some lesser known but equally outstanding artists (The Remote View, Skanfrom, Styrofoam, Dynamo, Opiate). All together, this is 17 of the best tracks you're likely to hear this year (or next year, probably). What does it sound like? Well, take the first track, "Electronique Supermarket" by Skanfrom. This is the only vocal track on the whole disk, but these are Kraftwerk-era vocoded vocals that sound as artificial and devoid of life as "We are the robots." The monotone vocals, however, are not echoed in the music itself. In fact, this song is bursting with happy melodies and beats bumping and scratching like it was 1976 all over again. The sounds, I would argue, give the vocals energy, life, as if the music were resurrecting a person just enough to let them speak for 3 minutes. But that's just the first, really short song. The other 16 songs on this collection are very different--some bubbling along like diseased Schematic tracks, and others snapping and crikling their way toward Pole-like splinter dub. There's a huge canyon of riches here--so many, in fact, that it's hard to pinpoint individual moments of brillance (though To Rococo Rot's "Robfrog" has a wonderful guitar melody and everything ISAN does is wonderful). So get it, listen, and ask yourself: if this really were supermarket music, what wonderful world this would be!
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