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Compilations - Issue 608


HAUS of ALTR 10 & 11

June and July saw the release of two lengthy compilations from HAUS of ALTR, a New York City-based label run by DJ and producer MoMA Ready that focuses on “honest underground culture”, a modest phrasing for some of the most thrilling new electronic music we’ve heard in years. The charge is led by an extended crew of mostly US-based artists, including affiliates of the Discwoman agency and regulars at Bossa Nova Civic Club, a Brooklyn venue that hosts the Black-focused underground music festival Dweller. HAUS of ALTR is quickly establishing itself as one of the key new labels focusing on young, politically-charged Black dance music. In a recent DJ Mag profile, MoMA Ready said that he, his collaborator AceMo and friends “want to see American dance music put a dent in the market for real. We invented all the core ideas of modern dance music, we’re not taken seriously in a global market, and I think that’s bullshit considering how much skin we have in the game.” As the COVID-19 pandemic brings the game to a grinding halt, and months of protests have forced millions to truly examine a racist world, this moment in time feels extraordinary and this Black music deserves to be taken seriously. Across 50 tracks, the two compilations are stacked with exciting multi-genre workouts. Highlights include DJ SWISHA’s inventive takes on footwork and juke, Akua, AshTreJinkins and Amal’s thunderous ravey techno, Galcher Lustwerk, Bale Defoe and Stefan Ringer’s raw and deep house beats, FAUZIA’s woozy drum play, Loraine James’ polyrhythmic skitters and Bookworm’s caustic noise jams. It’s an impressively broad selection of styles pulled together with laser-sharp vision, a mission statement of what the future of dance music should look and sound like. LAUREN MARTIN
Lauren Martin


Break The Silence

United World Music

Underground heroes and a vital cause
“The reason why buildings are burning is not just for our brother George Floyd,” a voice booms over the swinging techno beat of K’Alexi Shelby & Tony Loveless’ ‘State Of Emergency’. “They’re burning down because people here in Minnesota are saying to people in New York, to people in California, to people in Memphis, to people all across this nation: Enough is enough.” The opening track of United World Music’s ‘Break The Silence’ lays the groundwork for this 14-track compilation of protest music for the dancefloor. The collection is raising funds for Campaign Zero, an initiative that campaigns against police violence in the US, and features star-studded contributions from the likes of Robert Hood, Eddie Fowlkes, 4Hero, Rebekah and Sinistarr x K-Dan. From propulsive techno and house to frenetic D&B, it’s an essential compilation for an essential cause. EOIN MURRAY
Eoin Murray


Kaleidoscope: New Spirits Known And Unknown

Soul Jazz

Deep dive into a bubbling movement
This collection of new UK jazz from a long-running champion of the form is very welcome. Coming after the similarly inclined ‘We Out Here’ compilation on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood, ‘Kaleidoscope’ shows the breadth of the current British scene, and how its modern iteration intersects with electronic music. Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra’s Coltrane-esque, modal waltz style on ‘When The World Was One’ is a highlight, while the haunting atmosphere of Ishmael Ensemble’s ‘Kito’s Theme’ has drums that feel equally influenced by broken beat and hip-hop. Pokus’ ‘Pokus One’ has beats that roll and slip between temporal zones and eerie synth smears amid its undulating bassline, sounding like a dream 4hero and Photek collaboration, and Yazmin Lacey’s vocal on ’90 Degrees’ taps into the same warm jazz-funk feel of Erykah Badu’s ‘Mama’s Gun’. BEN MURPHY
Ben Murphy


Music in Support of Black Mental Health

Objects Limited

Leftfield delights for a worth cause
All proceeds from this compilation, put together by Lara Rix-Martin and Mike Paradinas, will go to five charities from the UK and USA that seek to offer support to Black people confronted with “healthcare disparities on a daily basis” through institutional violence and systemic racism. Drawing together a selection of leftfield electronic artists mostly from the orbit of the Planet Mu record label, there’s plenty of brilliance to discover here. Bogdan Raczynski’s ‘Average Banger’ is anything but, a hyperactive Amen jungle maelstrom with a bassline that could level cities. As U-Ziq, Paradinas offers up the wonderful ‘Hip House Breakcore’, a bracing four-four ride through mangled metallic bass, breaks and rave stabs. Gage’s ‘Tell Me Again And Again’ is a twisted future synth beauty, and Konx-Om-Pax’s ‘Vision Quest’ is worthy of Aphex at his delicate piano best. BEN MURPHY
Ben Murphy


Physically Sick 3

Allergy Season

Thundering, inspiring and fresh
Since their first edition in 2017, Discwoman and Allergy Season’s ‘Physically Sick’ compilations have landed right when they’re needed most, injecting heroic doses of cathartic electronic sound into the world and raising funds for worthy causes in the process. The sprawling collections, curated by Umfang, Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson and Physical Therapy, feature artists from New York’s supercharged dance scene and beyond, spanning kaleidoscopic techno, house, ambient and experimental club sounds. This third, 27-track outing is no different, and is stacked with contributions from vital names like Anz, AceMo, MoMA Ready, Aya and DJ Swisha. With all proceeds going to Equality For Flatbush, a Brooklyn organisation tackling racist police abuse and gentrification, ‘Physically Sick 3’ is the sound of the electronic underground coming together in protest. It bursts with purpose and frustration, with adrenaline in every kick. EOIN MURRAY
Eoin Murray