Sub Rosa 1996. SR110
This is the third and final compilation released in tribute to the late French philosopher Gilles Deleuze. The first is here, and the second, which is a companion to this one, is here. Essentially this album is a remix of Folds and Rhizomes; the various artists have swapped tapes and reworked each others contributions. It’s a pretty successful project – after all the contributors mostly represent the cream of 90s electronica. As usual, I reckon Mouse On Mars is the highlight, both the Scanner remix of Subnubus and their remix of the fourth track which seems to include everyone.
This is mostly minimal electronica. If you want to know more, the links above give a more detailed description of what to expect.
Virgin Ambient 1994. AMBT4
This is another installment of Virgin’s groundbreaking Ambient series. This one was so influential that it spawned a whole new genre, or at least gave it a name. Like the previous albums I’ve posted from this series, it was compiled by Kevin Martin and, as far as I can tell, features all exclusive tracks. Isolationism is ambient music, but with a dark, threatening edge, and this album contains all the most important musicians in that area. Like most of the albums in this series, it’s carefully compiled to function as a coherent whole, while the quality of individual tracks is high. These aren’t discarded tit bits left from other projects, even from the big names; Aphex Twin’s contribution is as good as anything he’s done.
Sub Rosa 1995. SR99
The second of three tributes I have to the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze from the electronic music community (The first is here). This one is slightly different as it was put together while he was alive as a present, but Deleuze committed suicide before the release. The label, Sub Rosa feels a similar sense of affinity with Deleuze as Mille Plateaux, and the artists they present are similar: only Main and David Shea don’t appear on the Mille Plateaux tribute.
The title of the album refers to a philosophical concept Deleuze developed which fits well with the music presented. It deals with the idea of culture being a complex web of inter-relationships rather than a hierarchical structure. This makes it resilient because breaking or damaging parts of it has no impact because there are other connections linking the same places, but it also rejects the idea that you can trace culture back to a “root”.
Other than that, I can only repeat what I said last time – the music is from the intellectual end of 90s electronica, and is essential listening if you’re into that kind of thing. All the tracks here are exclusives.
Beggars Banquet 1996. HERTZ 1 – 6
Main were formed from the ashes of drone-rock outfit Loop by Robert Hampson and Scott Dowson. They took the ideas Loop used far further than Loop did themselves, basing the music around drones devoid of rhythm. Theyused manipulated sounds, usually so manipulated that it was impossible to tell where they came from. This was a journey though, and their earlier work still contained elements of recognisable musical structures.
Hz appeared as a set of 6 EPs released monthly in 1996 and is for me their greatest achievement. It’s guitar based and while drones are used extensively, it’s still “music”. In places there are even bass riffs. As a whole it’s intensely atmospheric with a powerful industrial feel.
This is the original 6 CD version, ripped as though it was one long CD. There have been a few re-issues over the years as a double CD – I have no idea whether the sound was different on those. There’s something to be said for splitting the 6 CDs up – they work well as stand-alone pieces. That would be easy to do with MP3Tag if you felt inclined.
Hampson has reformed Main and has a new album about to be released which you can pre-order here. Obviously I haven’t heard it, but I have much of Hampson’s output and he’s rarely less than interesting. It will be good.