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Clicks And Cuts

Various Artists
Clicks And Cuts
(Mille Plateaux)

Electronic music has branched out into nearly every category that it possibly can at this point, so as expected, there are complilations detailing the movements into every little nook and cranny and although they don't try to, end up pigeonholing some artists anyway. One of the first compilations that I heard thats focus was on breaking down electronic elements into even smaller sounds and focusing in on minimal and even 'glitch' was the Microscopic Sounds compilation on Caipirinha a couple years back. It had some more well known artists on it, as well as some up and comers (as every good comp should) and although fairly interesting, ended up being sort of hit-or-miss.

Mille Plateaux has put something somewhat similar together with Clicks And Cuts, and have stretched things out over 2 discs and almost 140 minutes of music (which is nothing compared to the 3CDs and over 200 minutes of music on the second iteration of the series). Just in case you aren't familiar with the music on the release, there's even a sort of 'manifesto,' talking about minimalism and abstraction and all kinds of other big words to describe what most people have come to simply call "glitch."

The music on the two discs is just about what you'd expect from the genre. There are lots of pops and hisses and warm tones and rumbling low end under all the little snaps. For the first release in the series, there are also some big names involved. Pole contributes a track called "SpaS" that rumbles along with his usual thick dubby bassline and botches of the trusty Waldorf filter (and feels like it could have easily come off either his 2 or 3 release) while Panasonic contributes the track "Koilinen," that thumps along without quite the same amount of sinister-ness that their usual tracks contain. Some of the coolest tracks on the first disc are by a bit lesser known artists. Farben contributes the amazingly warm track "Raute" (that feels like warmed-over house without any of the annoying qualities) while Alva Noto drops the strange, Nobukazu Takemura-esque "Prototype N."

The second disc is just as solid, and includes excellent tracks by the likes of Kid 606, Kit Clayton, and Panacea (in a much less hardcore mode, obviously), as well as many others. One of the best tracks on the entire release, though, is also one of the shortest ones. Jake Mandell turns in the track "I Won't Lie," and although it clocks in at only about 2 and a half minutes, it has more going on in it than other tracks that are 3 times the length.

As with most compilations that deal in such a small range of the musical spectrum (although it's more diverse than the aforementioned Microscopic Sounds), your degree of interest in the release will be proportionate to how well you can stomach the sort of music in the first place. It's a release that can be very cold and machine-like, but as in the case of the Mandell track (and others), it also contains a suprising amount of playfullness and warmth. Some tracks go on for far too long and others end too soon, but as a compilation it's a pretty good overview (although it probably could have been slimmed down slightly and worked a little better). Still, a solid release from minimal electronics land, and lots of sounds that make you wonder just how they were coaxed out of the machines.

Rating: 7