V/A – Daruma

The label Ant-Zen often derives its inspiration from Eastern philosophy. This is also the case with this anniversary compilation, to celebrate its 10 years of existence. Daruma is the founder of the Zen-sect. The paper Daruma figures have been used for centuries to express various emotions. “The expressions of human feelings that you can find in Daruma’s faces can be found in Ant-Zen’s tenth anniversary compilation. From anger to relaxation, from happiness to sadness – all the variety of Ant-Zen can be found in here. But the most important thing is the main expression – if you fall down, you will rise up again.” On the front of the nice silver-coloured slim digipack you see a Daruma figure.

The artists included on “Daruma” give a nice overview of the variety of the label. From harsh industrial to powerful technoid music to experimental noises to atmospheric soundscapes. There is quite some unreleased material present on these two cd’s, which are filled to the brim. But if you already possess quite some Ant-Zen releases you won’t be surprised very much by their sound. Orphx opens the compilation with their well-known mix of rhythm and ambience. Some great low basses make my speakers rumble in this monotonous but sublte evolving piece. This Canadian act has always been one of my favourite acts in the Ant-Zen field. It is followed by a straightforward attack, the heavy technoid ‘drown delay’ by Roger Rotor, a relentless dancefloor attack, though a bit too monotonous for consumption at home. Harsh industrial tracks by Iszoloscope, Synapscape, Asche, Axiome and Cell Automa Mata follow. Contagious Orgasm and This Morn’ Omina offer some highly danceable pieces, somewhere between ritual industrial, techno trance and EBM. After these tracks I’m getting tired, and then we’re only halfway disc 1! Luckily on disc 2 some more subtle, atmospheric pieces can be found, though not always very accessible.

Consuming all 32 tracks at once is really too much for me. There is surely a wealth of material available here, varied in style. I don’t value all tracks evenly high, especially the more noisy harsh industrial pieces don’t appeal that much to me (nowadays), but most of them sound more attractive in a club than at home anyway. But in general this is certainly a very good sampler for the industrial beginner. Collector’s of Ant-Zen and the individual bands present will also want to add this gem to their collection, though they won’t find much really new and surprising here. Still a sampler not to be missed, but warning: consume in small doses.

artist: V/A
label: Ant-Zen
details: 2cd. act150 (2003)