Various Artists – Compound

Various Artists

Robin Rimbaud’s (aka Scanner) Sulphur Records UK, an offshoot of major-label conglomerate Beggars Group US, presents a roster compilation of discoveries within and outside the catalogue. And I quote, “Sulphur Records was set up in 1999 to introduce innovative work by artists from all manner of disciplines.” And Compound is the invite from the label that is also known as Sulfur Records US (spelled differently on purpose). Basically, what you have here is slightly euro-trash electronic music that could have any of the following adjectives: abstract, minimalist, schizophrenic, jazz, dub, odbpm, sampledelic, experimental, freaky, breakbeat, etc. Names like Future Pilot AKA, DJ Spooky, and Ashley Weir make this collection just familiar enough to me to know that this release is using the more recognized artists to introduce others.

Most interesting to me is former Soup Dragon and Scotland resident, Sushil K. Dade’s Future Pilot AKA, whose two contributions would stand up without the electronic moniker crutch. In the first track (mix, cut, sampling, whatever) titled “The Gates to Film City” by Future AKA Vs Two Lone Swordsmen (what is with that Vs stuff in the DJ/remix world anyway … isn’t it more like, “with?”), samples and grooves are somewhat recognizable, as if from an old television show or movie. Together with a synthesizer string section and off-kilter pipe bell, they form an ominous song that is rhythmic and catchy. The other installment from Future Pilot AKA, titled “Night Flight to Memphis,” finds noted rock figure Kim Fowley joining up to close the album with a heady and heavy electronic stomp with Jim Morrison-like vocal delivery and druggy, poetic verse.

Ashley Wales, when not a member of Spring Heeled Jack, has remixed other well-known artists including Everything but the Girl, Tortoise, and Thurston Moore. On this album, an excerpt from his “Landscape” is somewhere in the vicinity of the Album Leaf and Flying Saucer Attack, by way of textured appeal and sound solace.

Some of Compound is purely Prada in sound by mixing vintage exotica styling with ultra-mod appeal. From your discerning, and always music conscious, friends to even the most elitist rock critic, you’ll be hard-pressed not to impress when you drop UK underground DJ names Solo, Scannerfunk, SFT, or Dstar upon their unsuspecting ears when they innocently ask, before biting into $50 an ounce caviar smeared across a Bremner wafer, “What’s this playing in the background?” A stemmed glass cocktail of electronic, experimental house music with a splash of rhythm and a twist of free-jazz makes this album the perfect background sound for entertaining.