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Compost Black Label Series, Vol. 3

(Compost; US: 15 Jul 2008; UK: 26 May 2008; Germany release date: 9 May 2008)

Compost isn’t just for trip-hop and nu-soul any more. Since its inception a few years ago, the venerable German imprint’s Black Label series of 12-inch EPs has showcased some of the most original, cutting-edge techno around. Not surprisingly given recent trends, this installment of highlights from the past year’s releases goes heavy on the ‘80s influences.


You get the updated technopop of Phreek Plus One’s “Bikini” and Nuno Dos Santos/TJ Kong’s “Merging”, the Detroit-style techno of Manuel Tur’s “Conchord”, the piano house of Wagon Cookin’s “Start to Play”, even the Italian cosmic disco of Phreek Plus One’s “New York Dolls”. Some of these names will be familiar from previous Black Label comps, and some are new. Jay Shepheard, who delivers a highlight with the clean house of “Pipes ‘n’ Sneakers”, provides the continuous mix.


Vol. 3 doesn’t quite measure up to the high standards set by its predecessors. It’s not as funky, and several tracks fall short of engaging. Still, there are enough groovy moments and danceably strange soundscapes to make it more than worthwhile.

Rating:

John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.


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