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Various Artists
Microsolutions #1: Microsolutions To Megaproblems
(Soul Jazz)

There's no doubt that Soul Jazz Records have carved out a great niche for themselves over the course of the past couple years by releasing a slew of solid compilations and collections. Microsolutions To Megaproblems is the electronic sub-label of Soul Jazz and like their parent label have been issuing 12" releases from some pretty big names on the electronic scene during the same time period. Microsolutions #1 is the first CD/LP from the label and collects all the early vinyl singles (as well as some new exclusive tracks) on the label onto this one release.

The result is over seventy-five minutes worth of tracks that mainly fall into micro-house and/or micro-dub categories, with two tracks each from Kit Clayton, Kid 606, A. Greenman, Sutekh, and Hu Vibrational, as well as a slew of other artists and remixers. The aforementioned Clayton drops both "Humbaba" and "Enkidu," both of which churn away with blurping, juicy glitch beats and heavy layers of filtered melodies while both entries from Kid 606 show off his less crazy side, riding more warbly rhythms and melody programming (much more akin to his PS I Love You release than his crazy breakbeat and gabber stylings), including "Banana Peel," which appears on his newest album.

Sutekh shows off his usual clip-n-cut style of microhouse on "Mouth Party" (which is one of the better tracks on the entire release and is a must-hear for fans of Akufen) and "Boulez' Toes" while Ammoncontact gets remixed by both Telefon Tel Aviv (who morph "BBQ Plate" into one of their usual ultra-clean productions) and Smyglyssna (who turn "On Bellflower" into an almost cartoonish instrumental hip-hop track). Another outstanding track on the release is the mix of Hu Vibrational's "Friends And Gardens" by Corker/Conboy, who turn the original into a mellow, worldly little strummer that works quite well.

On the other side, there are tracks on the release that just kind of linger on for far too long and both A. Greenman efforts (which top seven minutes apiece) lumber along for extended periods without too much variety and/or changes. "Tranzit" from Rekid recycles some old-school rave sounds (including the female vocal 'whoo' from "Radio Babylon" by Meat Beat Manifesto) into a retro-tinged track that fails to go much of anywhere as well. As shorter releases, I'm sure a good portion of the tracks on this release sounded a bit more essential on their own, and while it's nice for more casual listeners and collectors to have them all in one place, they feel a smidge diluted all piled together on one massive release. There's no doubt some great stuff here, but as with all compilations, the great is sometimes diminished by the less-than-so.

Rating: 7.25