ATP Recordings - 2001 - 77 minutes
Contrary to album title allusions, this anthology doesn't involve bands picking their way through 'Femme Fatale' or 'I'm Waitin' for the Man'. In actual fact this viscous bag of beats is a musical Venn diagram, where overlap and interconnection gets ridiculous. In the Warp circle we have the electronic musings of Prefuse 73, Broadcast, Boards of Canada and Autechre. Autechre have in turn remixed Tortoise, John McEntire's main project, and The Sea & The Cake, another band frequented by McEntire and other Tortoise members. Yo La Tengo, Calexico (Tortoise labelmates) and Black Heart Procession paint wistful landscapes to get lost in. Just enough room is left for a hip-hop circle inhabited by Mike Ladd (Like Madd productions), Atmosphere and Cannibal Ox featuring El-P.
Confused? You won't be when you listen to this. Despite the seemingly incongruent selection, this is a cohesive collection, a beautifully circular collective. Label mates and contributors, influences and allies orbit each other like moons and their satellites in an otherworldly rather than intergalactic fusion of sounds.
One of the best things about this album is certainly its range and the potential for audience crossover from those who buy it. You may be a Calexico kid who disparages hip-hop or a Warp minimalist who's sworn off guitar-fuelled synthesis. But the Venn circles overlay and collide, in a musical equivalent of plate tectonics and only the most blinkered cynic will skip the genres they haven't bothered to explore here.
Highlights? There are just too many. Honourable mentions go to the delicately titled 'Shitslime Garbage Can vs My Mpc' by Warp's Prefuse 73 and the sublime Boards of Canada. I have to include the opening track remixed by K Brown, the fragile, live ruminations of Yo La Tengo on 'Our Way to Fall' and the atmospheric, rare 'Sinfo' by Rick Rizzo and Tara Key. However the brilliant, multi-layered meanderings of Tortoise's 'Cliff Dweller Society' (which is deleted and features here for the first time on CD) stands out as this album's epic.
Russell Haswell's uber-abstract electronica of the bleeps, crackles and fiddling-about-with-jack-leads variety is the only blip on an otherwise excellent musical trajectory. These are lunar-guided melodies; timeless, undulating gems that twinkle in a sky of monotonous, afterthought music. On a clear night you can see forever…
Tracklisting: Bird & Flag (remix) (The Sea & Cake) – Shitslime Garbage Can Vs My MPC (Prefuse 73) – DDL (Broadcast) – Piker Sam (Calexico) – Our Way To Fall (live) (Yo La Tengo) – Sinfo (Rick Rozzo & Tara Key) – Waterfront (Black Heart Procession) – Cliff Dweller Society (Tortoise) – I See What They Say (Mike Ladd) – In A Beautiful Place Out in The Country (Boards of Canada) – If I Was A Santa Claus (Atmosphere) - Ridiculoid (Cannibal Ox feat. El-P) – All Tomorrow's Linoleum (Autechre) – Maquette Augmentation (Russell Haswell)