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Blue Skied An' Clear

Various Artists
Blue Skied An' Clear: A Morr Music Compilation

It was just a couple years ago now that Morr Music burst onto the scene with a couple single releases and a compilation entitled Putting The Morr Back In Morrissey. Since that time, they've managed to make a huge name for themselves with releases from Lali Puna, Múm, Manual, ISAN, and plenty of others. With yet another whole slew of up-and-coming artists on the roster and a great year of solid releases behind them, it's only natural that they'd come back with another compilation of great music to appease the fans they've built up over the course of the past years and undoubtedly win them a bunch more.

Like that first compilation, this release is 2CDs worth of material, and features new tracks by all of the above mentioned artists and more. Taking the current infatuation with dreampop to the next logical level, the first disc of the compilation is comprised entirely of covers of Slowdive songs. At first thought, it might seem like a slightly odd pairing, but given the dreamy quality of Slowdive's work, it's actually quite a natural fit. If you still don't believe, just give the disc a spin...

Although a majority of the cover/reworkings come from the Soulvaki release (and there are a couple tracks that even get more than one rework), there are others sprinkled in as well. Future 3 (a new group on the label) open up the disc with a breathy, atmospheric cover of "Alison," while Lali Puna contribute a vision of "40 Days" that adds some rather chunky beats and thick synths while singer Valerie Trebeljahr adds more emotive than normal vocals. One of the biggest surprises on the disc arrives in the form of the absolutely head-spinning version of "Soulvaki Soul Station" by Limp. Encorporating a lot more electronic elements than on their debut EP, the track retains the trippy original vibe while squirming with extra life courtesy of clever programming. Manual (Jonas Munk, also in Limp) continues his winning streak after Ascend with a take on the title track "Blue Skied An' Clear."

Towards the end of the first disc, Hermann & Kleine contribute a twinkling version of "Dagger" while Múm closes things out with a very understated take on "Machine Gun," skirting along with layered electronic noises and an accordian, plus lovely female vocal harmony. There are a few moments where things drag a bit (like ISAN's overlong reworking of "Waves"), but mostly it's a blissful trip of re-envisioned tracks from an already amazing group.

That said, the second disc is basically just icing on the cake. With the release being offered at the price of one normal CD, you get well over 2 hours of great music for a very reasonable price. ISAN redeem themselves fully with the lovely clip-hop track of "My Last Journey (Weather Balloon)," while newcomers Future 3, Guitar (who sound like yet another future incarnation of Slowdive), and Populous all add great tracks that pique my interest in full-lengths to come. If I have one complait, it's that after 130 minutes, things somewhat start to blur together, but when the music is this heavenly, it's not a huge concern. Another winner from the Morr label, again showing why they're one of the best up-and-coming/already here labels around.

Rating: 8.25