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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Various Artists - Emerging Organisms 2

Artist: Various Artists
Album: Emerging Organisms 2
Year: 2008
Label: Tympanik Audio
Genre: Ambient, IDM, Downtempo, Industrial, etc

Packaging: 6/10
Pretty standard compilation packaging; a one fold digipak with some good quality artwork. Has lots of info and links for each band.

Composition: 8.5/10
If you have been keeping up with Tympanik Audio, and have Emerging Organisms 1, than you have a good idea of what to expect here. Despite only a few returning arists from EO1, EO2 to some extent follows suit. It’s got a solid mix of ambient, idm, downtempo, and industrial.

Disc 1 starts off slow (literally) with what sounds like a b-side from Hecq’s last album. This is one of the least interesting tracks on the comp, but at least it’s out of the way early. After that things really start to pick up with great tracks by Mlada Fronta, Dryft, Flint Glass, Architect, Subheim, Aphorism, etc. Dryft and Subheim are my pick for the best two on this disc. Goddamn, I can’t wait for the new Subheim after hearing ‘Take Me Back’.

Disc 2 starts off in the opposite way, as the Stephen James Knight (better know as Edgey) track is really fucking good. Since he uses his full name, the track obviously has to be mellow…and it is, but it’s still got awesome breakbeats. After that there are some really good tracks by Rope (Tony Young of Autoclav’s new project), Stendeck, DJ Hidden, Ginormous, Blackfilm (which sounds curiously like Massive Attack – ‘Prayer For England’), a collab between the aforementioned Autoclav1.1 and ESA, and finally an epically mellow closing track courtesy of Lights Out Asia.

It took me a while to get through all the tracks here, but it exposed me to some new tracks by artists I know and love, as well as several tracks from bands that I have been curious about checking out. Thanks to this compilation, a few more bands will be getting some money from me.

Production: 9/10
For the most part, the production is exceptional. I hate when compilations are mastered badly and stuff is at varying volumes and levels-of-rawness…but I am glad to say that this is absolutely not one of those. Between the track selection and the production, EO2 feels very cohesive despite being by completely different bands.

Artistic Merit: 7/10
Not the most groundbreaking compilation ever created, but in my opinion there can never be too many good collections of downtempo/idm music.

Flow: 8/10
Flows as well as any comp should. Enough stylistic variation to not make listeners bored from track to track, and everything falls under the umbrella of idm/downtempo/whatever so that there is a good level of global consistency as well.

Overall Rating: 8.5/10
As with all compilations, there are a few tracks that I will never listen to again, however the vast majority of EO2 is top of the line – well constructed, arranged and produced – music. If you like what Tympanik has been putting out and are curious for similar music, than this is your disc. If you don’t know much about Tympanik but are curious, than this is your disc as well. This is a lifeboat in a sea of blood-smut-elektro-tbm tripe. A fantastic way to close out the first year of Tympanik's existence. They've set the bar quite high, and let's hope they can keep it up for many years to come.

-dan barrett

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