V/A – Like Music to their Ears – volume 1

The French label Mechanoise Labs, usually known for its violent industrial assaults, has gathered forces from various French and Belgian electronic projects, with a surprisingly calm compilation as the end result. Though harsh, gritty elements and industrial sounds are certainly present, the overall atmosphere is rather tranquil. The label uses the description ‘electronic atmospheres and tranquil noise’. Fourteen different acts are present, most of which I did not know before. The subtitle of the album is volume I, so I assume there are plans to make a series of this concept. Which is certainly a good plan, because there is enough quality on this compilation. But for some reason there are not much tracks that really stand out or attracted my attention directly, perhaps because most contributions are rather similar style-wise.

Rudra Vena opens the compilation with a tension-building electronic track, with some drony waves and minimal ritual percussion. Hirichimiq impresses me with a calm soundtrack with some classical elements, resembling the ambient cathedrals that Raison d’Etre usually builds. Dusk of Hope sounds a little darker and noisier, with a very distant sound, coming from a deep cellar. One of my favourite contributions comes from L’Arme ? Gauche, with nice machine rhythms, atmospheric neo-classical layers and guitar sounds and some choirs in the background. Very good!

Stelladrine offers a low-key soundscape, with mysterious speech samples. Rather minimal, but with hypnotic qualities. Sobria Ebrietas follows this tranquil line, with spacious stretched layers and strange bubbling sounds. With Mourmansk 150 we arrive at a noisier track, monotous slow death industrial. Asphalt Leash is also known for harsh music, the title like ‘with knives at their throats’ does not sound very cosy, but fits the cold factory sounds, metallic noises and low distorted layers. Ripit sounds very dense, a wall of noise with a few isolated bleeps and beats.

Chupacabras is more tranquil again, a mysterious soundscape with French spoken words. Towards the end the track gets noisier and darker, quite haunting. ‘Warmecha v1.2’ by Tin.RP is very rhythmic, based around some monotonous loops. Giscard le Survivant contributes a moody soundscape, with estranging organ sounds and a varied menu of textures, clicks and samples. With Zerogoki we descend into darker catacombs again, with a mixture of ambient elements and noisy sounds. Inoculation is the last act on “Like Music to their ears”, with a noisy, deep wave of sound.
With a limited edition of 100 copies this cd-r will bring the participants no world fame, but for the insiders there will perhaps be a few names to remember.

artist: V/A
label: Mechanoise Labs
details: cdr compilation, 14 bands. [mn016]