Various Artists – Materia Oscura

review_va_mo

CD, Sistinas, 2006
facebook.com/sistinasmusic

Sistinas Music is a new electronic label hailing from Los Angeles, and certainly coming along at an interesting time for electronic based music from the US. There are a lot of labels coming from the US who may be a force to be reckoned with in the coming year, such as Crunch Pod and Sonic Mainline, as well as collectives like Mechanismz (Home to The Operative and Vuxnut) and Nentech (Vaclav and Sis Ex). There’s a lot of noise being made on the other side of the Atlantic right now and it’s not going to stop anytime soon.

“Materia Oscura” features many up–and coming artists as well as some who are already well known like C/A/T and The Operative. This compilation also covers a wide range of styles going from Power Noize from the likes of Vaclav (the track “Hein”), ambient from Broken Fabiola – who feature twice with “Lovher (Beautiful and Tragic remix)” and “Loneliest Girl” – and then through to IDM, with Sis Ex’s “Eye Doll” being an example. Sistinas have been brave to release something with such a large scope with quite a lot of newcomers, and the release is all the better for this.

Stand out tracks include Hazing Ritual’s “Evil Concentrate”, which features some great samples from the film “Pulp Fiction”, to a stompy dancefloor pleasing sound; Broken Fabiola’s “Lovher (Beautiful and Tragic remix)” is sweet and mournful electronica, which has samples of what I believe to be an answerphone message left by a very sad young lady which adds to overall sadness of the track. Phantom West go for the Synthpop sound with “The Rain’s Expedition”, in which the vocals are rather reminiscent of Iris during their ‘Awakening’ album. The Operative’s “Afterlife” is noisy without being 4/4 Power Noize, but interesting enough to dance to (but then I happen to rate The Operative rather highly).

In all this is an interesting compilation and one which should grab the attention of quite a few electronic music fans. Sistinas are certainly going to be making some noise. A label to watch.

[7/10]

– Kate Turgoose

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