A mixed compilation release by independent electronica artists from the twoism.org
Like most music fans I get almost embarrassingly excited about stumbling into a quality artist I’ve never experienced before. It’s almost better than hearing a great album or seeing an amazing live show, because of the unlimited potential it represents. In fact the only thing I like more then discovering a new artist of merit, is finding 20 of them all at once. Luckily, One On Twoism Vol. 3 offers just such an opportunity. This comp is a group project from the Twoism Records community, which seems to be equal parts a Boards of Canada fan site, net label and general underground music message board. The album is available as a free download or you can purchase a physical copy from their site. As you might expect from a community named after a BOC song, this album shares many of the qualities we have come to expect from the Scottish duo. Relatively simple laid back tracks, not exactly ambient but hardly beat driven, unified by an overall pleasantness and synthetic sounds that somehow feel more natural then nature itself. I like to imagine these producers leaving synths in the sun to achieve that special kind of warble in their pitch bends or letting moss grow on drum machines so they have a more organic quality.
The traditional way to discuss compilations is to praise the high points, of which OOTV3 contains many. Phasen’s “Blue Ridge Sunrise” sports some exquisite melodic work, combining keyboard, acoustic guitar and a midi string section via rapid changes that flow together without feeling rushed. Misner Space brings the heat on “A Clock in the Kingdom,” an intriguing mix of sampled jazz piano over a break beat that would sound at home on any Stones Throw record. But if I listed all the comps highlights I would end up just cutting and pasting the track list. Besides, the key with compilations is balance and in that respect standout tracks can end up detracting from the overall experience as much as bellow par offerings. The trick is to some how make every song feel like it is coming from the same place, without sounding overly similar to each other. It is not an easy thing to accomplish but the folks at Twoism Records have pulled it off wonderfully. With that in mind, the records true highpoint is not any individual track but rather the way they all compliment each other, creating a whole that is far more then the sum of its parts.
The only complaint I can make about OOTV3, is the wish they had explained the thesis of this album more clearly. The 2nd track is clearly a reinterpretation of a Geogaddi era BOC song but isn’t listed as such. Other tracks contain elements that tickle my peripheral memory, though I couldn’t say for sure if they were samples of Boards songs or just sounded similar. So I’m left wondering, is every song is a remix, or at lest “inspired” by Boards songs, or is it some of both mixed in with originals? This may sound like splitting hairs, but to me the conceptual purpose of any given record is as important as its sonic characteristics. OOTV3 is a great listen on its own but more importantly it offers a chance to discovered an abundance of independent artist who might otherwise stay below most listeners radar. Any label out there seeking to add to its roster would do well to pay attention to this compilation, because it represents some of the brightest new voices electronica has heard in quite awhile.