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Mary Anne Hobbs Presents Wild Angels

(Planet Mu; US: 15 Sep 2009; UK: 14 Sep 2009)

Like her two previous compilation albums, Warrior Dubz (2006) and Evangeline (2008), Wild Angels finds BBC Radio personality and DJ Mary Anne Hobbs, host of Radio One’s Experimental Show, dishing out the latest in left-field electronica and dubstep from L.A. to Europe. The result is, for the most part, a coherent 80-minute mix of 18 celestial-sounding electro-chic compositions from London’s underground elite. Gemmy’s rhythmic “Rainbow Road” echoes back to the deep house-sound reminiscent of ‘90s-era DJ James Christian, while Darkstar puts an intriguing new spin on Radiohead’s sullen masterpiece “Videotape”, giving it a distorted synth treatment. The album falters momentarily, however, with the inclusion of Mono/Poly’s choppy beat-laden “Red and Yellow Toys”, which resembles a full-on hard-drive seizure more than anything remotely musical. The record is immediately brought back on track by the hushed sonic backdrop of Hyetal’s dreamy “We Should Light a Fire”, which bears a faint similarity to Moby’s 1993 ambient single “Go”. Overall, Hobbs’ Wild Angels proves to be a genuine aural experience, full of surprisingly cool soundscapes that showcase the ingenuity of electronic musical experimentation, while making most other forms of radio-friendly fare seem far less interesting.

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