[18 August 2008]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
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.