Saturday, August 02, 2008

Favorite Netlabel Compilations - Part I

It's hard to believe it's been almost two months since my first post featuring my favorite netlabel albums. I promised, in that post, to do a list of my favorite netlabel compilations before too long had passed. Two months seems long enough, so here it is. I should note before I start the list that there really are very few compilations from which I like every song. Most of the compilations listed here have at least a couple of tracks which I consider really superb.

Draumar Um Kalt Sumar (Sutemos) - I've already made a complete post about this album, which is the only post still around from when I first started this blog two years ago. This probably gets my award for the best netlabel compilation ever. Being mainly made up of ambient/IDM music with an other-worldly vibe, it is remarkably consistent in its overall sound and feel, has a very nice flow from track to track, and is simply beautiful. While there are a number of tracks that stand out on it for me (especially the first five) the whole compilation is good and deserves to be listened to from start to finish. I basically discovered the music of artists like Am-boy, Isan, and Static from this album and went on to purchase or download albums by all three of them. Excellent stuff.

Intelligent Toys 1, 2, 3, & 4 (Sutemos) - Sutemos scores again on this list with their excellent Intelligent Toys series. These compilation albums which again focus mainly on melodic IDM and ambient music are one of the best places on the web to discover a host of great electronic music that you may not have been familiar with before. It was through these compilations that I first discovered the music of numerous well known and respected electronic artists such as Manual, Ruxpin, Sense, Sleepy Town Manufacture, Ulrich Schnauss, Near the Parenthesis, and Quench, as well as lesser known but equally great artists like Crashed By Car, Bauri, Verbose, and Skardas. As with Draumar Um Kalt Sumar above, I have gone on to purchase the works of many these artists. While I think the first two releases in the series are probably the best, every one of them contains some real gems worth discovering. There is enough good music found on these compilations to launch you off in multiple directions into the world of electronic music. Highly recomended.

The Silent Ballet I - IV (Lost Children) - The Silent Ballet compilations, associated with the excellent website of the same name, are pretty much to post-rock music what the Intelligent Toys compilations are to melodic IDM/ambient music. So far there are nine compilations, with one releasing roughly every quarter of the year (although the last two came out simultaneously.) Though most of the compilations lean towards post-rock music, a few of them are geared towards other styles of music, such as number IV, which features a lot of cinematic and moody ambient and instrumental music. Again, as with the previous compilations on this list, I have discovered the music of many excellent artists with whom I was previously unfamiliar, including Caspian, God is an Astronaut, Joy Wants Eternity, City of One Hundred Spires, Apeiron Flux, pg.lost, Tunturia, Anoice, Bersarin Quartet, and The Abbasi Brothers to name a handful. Lots of great stuff waiting to be discovered here.

Red, Green, Blue, and other Summer Feelings (Sutemos) - Sutemos shows up one more time with this compilation, which shies away from the IDM oriented Intelligent Toys releases and features a wider selection of styles. While I am not as enamoured of this release as a whole as I am of some other Sutemos releases such as Draumar Um Kalt Sumar, there are numerous tracks that stand out here including the post-rock oriented sounds of Fonoda, and the super catchy shoegaze oriented sounds of ST and Readymade. Stockfinster features two cuts here from his excellent debut album "All Becomes Music," including an alternate version of the title track that I actually like better than the album version, while FusedMARc offer up eleven minutes of Massive Attack influenced electronic menace and aggression. Good stuff.

Okay, I need to take a break as I've been blogging for two hours now. I still have other albums to add to this list, but these recommendations should be enough to give you many hours of listening pleasure and new music to explore. I hope to be back soon with another entry featuring more of my favorite netlabel compilations, as well as with a third post featuring more of my favorite netlabel albums of all time. Peace.

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