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4 Women No Cry

Various Artists
4 Women No Cry
(Monika Enterprise)

Unfortunately, various artist compilations that introduce unknown artists under one unified release often tend to be rather hit-or-miss. I've ran across that situation many, many times in my years of listening to music, and instead of having the patience to jump around from one artist I like to another, I sometimes find myself giving up on the release as a whole and waiting for the individual artists to release something of their own.

To cut to the chase, 4 Women No Cry is one of the better multiple-artist compilations that I've heard in some time. Featuring from four to six tracks from four different unreleased female artists, it's literally a global journey through work from several different talented artists who will no doubt find homes for even more of their work after this release finds a way into the ears of the world. With artists hailing from Buenos Aires, Paris, Vienna, and Tblisi, there truly is a wide variety of geographic range involved, yet the release has a surprising cohesiveness as well, as all the artists work with an electronic/acoustic palette that helps the release flow together very nicely.

Opening the release is Argentinian singer Rosario Bléfari, and while the release is really great overall, I have to pick out her work as some of the best. Mixing programmed beats, field recordings from the city and country, and occasional warm acoustic guitar melodies (along with a voice that recalls Bebel Gilberto), all four tracks from Blefari have a buoyancy that just reminds me of life in the springtime when everything is basked in sun and moving and/or growing. Tusia Beridze follows with several tracks, and her more subdued works work a more cinematic angle as quiet, subdued vocals blend with strings, spoken-word passages, and subtle programming. If the works of Bléfari bely the work of someone living in Argentina, then those of Beridze have the (admittingly stereotypical) tone of Eastern Europe (where she makes her home) with their slightly more detached feel.

Èglantine Gouzy follows, and her work is much more punctuated with crisp programming and tracks that alternate between short vignette and pieces that sound like the French equivalent of The Postal Service. The final artist is Austrian Catarina Pratter, and her work is possibly the most varied of the three. The long track "Dreamin Of Love" alone sounds like several songs in one as it shifts from weird minimal dancefloor singalong to gurgling pop. Her track "Policeman" glitches out a piano jazz loop under some spoken-word vocals and stutter hi-hats while the closer "Stronger Than Before" is a dark, lumbering slab of experimental electronic pop.

The final tally is twenty different tracks and well over an hour worth of music from four female artists who are all doing their own thing and creating some really great music in the process. In addition to the artists I already mentioned in reference in the review above, fans of everyone from Juana Molina to Björk should hunt down this excellent compilation from Monika Enterprise. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Rating: 8