V/A - "1rst Fist & Stroop" (Skipp)
seems to be a never-ending supply of compilations released in the world
of electronic music these days, many of which are either remix projects
or are label-based, and only a few really stand out. It takes a label
with a unique sound or approach to make a worthwhile compilation. One
that not only highlights the worthiness of its roster, but also celebrates
a particular uniqueness of vision and direction. The new "birthday"
compilation on Skipp is a good example of a label-based comp that succeeds
in winning over converts to its sound, and in this particular case,
does so with a good dose of humor shared among the labelmates and their
like-minded friends from around the world.
All seriousness is put aside from the get-go with Felix Kubin's "Useless
Introduction". I'm not going to give away why the intro is so amusing,
but will say that it sets the tone for the cd in a way that highlights
the humanity of the artists in the context of their computer-based music
and programming. The recurring theme of the artists' humorous reflection
of themselves in the digital-audio domain is continued on tracks by
Scratch Pet Land, Blectum From Blechdom, and label owners Dat Politics.
Many of these tracks border on the odd, most notably the track "Sol
303" by Sonig recording artists Scratch Pet Land that sounds like a
Roland 303 attempting to communicate with Yamataka Eye of Boredoms.
Things get even weirder when Blectum From Blechdom cut and paste together
an ode to breasts on "I Have Mad Cow Disease". Blectum's plunderphonic
audio collage soon melts into digital abstraction, and eventually breaks
the sound down into a few clicks and cuts.
It's not all cheeky laptop fuckery however. I admittedly bought the
cd on the strength of it's one Schlammpeitziger track, and wasn't let
down in the least with Jo Zimmermann's moving, lo-fi electronic krautrock
contribution. There are some super-solid popsongs on this release as
well. Kid 606's "Spacehopper Song" is a happy-go-lucky tune filled with
great drill and bass rhythms and tweaky synth melodies. Felix Kubin's
musical contribution "Russian Robot in NY" sounds like something from
the "Liquid Sky" film soundtrack, only with more blips and bleeps.
There is definately something for everybody on "1rst Fist & Stroop"
as the Skipp sound represents the inevitable reflection of the interaction
between the artist and machine, in a humorous and sometimes stylistically
accessible way. It's a choice collection of digital pop and glitchy
experimentation from around the world that wears its humanity proudly
on its sleeve. Highly recommended.
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| April 2001 | Issue 13