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Label Collections: Audiobulb, Kikapu, Meta Records, Release Entertainment

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The following are record label samplers that exhibit the various musicians available on those labels.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Switch (CD on Audiobulb Records)

This CD from 2004 features 72 minutes of minimal electronics.

Artists featured on this CD are: Rodolphe Kuffer, He Can Jog, Marion, Claudia, Disastrato, Oti, Bllix, Diagram of Suburban Chaos, Henry Leo Duclos, Autistici, Build, Prhizzm, Room, and Effacer.

This music is generally sparse and highly electrified, mixing atmospheric drones with agitated diodes whirring and clicking and buzzing. The overall mood is an ambient one tinged with congenial edginess, achieving stimulation on a subliminal level. Computerized noise becomes harnessed into static harmonics which strive to evoke a union between the artificial realm and humanity. This connection is explored from various angles: from a hesitant fusion of abstract structure to a more conventional excursion into stressed ambience. Most of the tracks lack any strong melodic content, pursuing instead random cohesion through perturbations of synthetic composure.

In longer form, these compositions might accompany art installations or experimental films. Presented together on a CD, they reveal glimpses into a series of minds dedicated to transforming artificiality into emotion. These tracks are snapshots of the composers' creativity, displaying visions of the world through digital eyes.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Kikapu Gold Standard (CD on Kikapu)

This release from 2003 features 70 minutes of abstract electronic music.

Featured musicians are: Mental TSP, Glomag, Notech, Books on Tape, Algorhythm, Dubjay, Eric Laurence,, Cellular, Crashed by Car, Matt Borghi, Reconstructing Richard. Satellite Grooves, Stud, Kosik, The System Boot, and Michael Kirson-Goldapper.

Here, the tone is again abstract and artificial, but there exists a more rhythmic sense among the tracks. E-perc plays a more vital role in the music, propelling the tuneage into a more conventional model. Melodies are treated playfully, often in a frenetic manner, to convey agitated expressions that ferret sense from confusion. Through high velocity and quirky direction, melodies cavort and spasm to convey elation and mind-bending codification. Synthesized sounds are compressed and channeled through an assortment of devious manipulations to achieve a blurring exhibition of experimental techno.

Several of these pieces engage the listener's attention with tuneage that is, in effect, compressed sequences exampling rave sensibilities. The pieces walk a fine line between harsh and mellow, displaying stress one instant and solemn concentration the next. The emphasis is on individuality, though, resulting in unique snippets of sound that tantalize with elusive compulsion. Ambience becomes vitalized by synthetic beats and gyrating tonalities that generate an otherworldliness steeped in earthbound origins. Urban temperaments are exacerbated until they reach a futurist state in which lyrics are unimportant and driving riffs are superfluous.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: The Meta Collection (CD on Meta Records)

This CD from 2002 offers 75 minutes of ethnic music all filtered through the masterful direction of Bill Laswell.

Featured bands are: Asana 1 (Bill Laswell, Zakir Hussain, L. Shankar, production by the Orb), Asana 2 (Bill Laswell, Nils Petter Molvaer, Nicky Skopelitis, Craig Taborn, Karsh Kale), Spiritual Beauty (Bill Laswell, Abu Alouf, Sussan Deyhim, Zakir Hussain, Bill Buchen, Aiyb Dieng, Hamid Drake), Jah Wobble (with Jaki Liebeziet, Balugi Shrivastar, Jean-Pierre Rasle, Clive Bell), Asana 3 (Pharoah Sanders, Bill Laswell, Laraaji, Nicky Skopelitis), Buckethead, Life Space Death (Seven Tibetan Monks from Kalimpong Monastery, Bill Laswell, Eraldo Bernocchi), Hear No Evil (Bill Laswell, Zakir Hussain, Nicky Skopelitis, Aiyb Dieng, Jeff Bova, L. Shankar), Divination (Bill Laswell, Laraaji), and Rasa (Recordings from Borobudur, Java, Indonesia, production by Bill Laswell).

What do you get when world fusion bassist extraordinaire Bill Laswell lets his versatile creativity run amok with a bevy of international notables? You get way more than you bargained for.

Imagine ambient rave tuneage with strong Far Eastern influences...ethereal electronics blending with ethnic percussives with tastes of world class piano or horns thrown in, a cosmic bridge between Western technology and Eastern philosophy. That's the basis for Asana, a super-group that's constantly changing personnel and faithfully generating music of transcendental quality.

Add a dash of Jah Wobble's idiosyncratic fusion of similar elements, and you get an entirely different but equally tasty result...sitar-strong and laced with sinuous basslines and seductive tablas.

Toss in a track by guitar virtuoso Buckethead...foregoing his normal fervor for sedate contemplation with pensive guitar and languid keyboards.

Experience the wonder of a live performance that fuses the horns, bells and voices of Seven Tibetan Monks with modern bass and ambient electronics and atmospheric guitar effects.

A rewarding collection that will keep the listener entertained and karmically centered.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: A Slight Touch of Grace (CD on Release Entertainment)

This release from 2002 features 70 minutes of ambient music.

Featured musicians are: Nostalgia, Son-Dha, VidnaObmana, Amber Asylum, Alio Die & Mathias Grassow, Robert Rich, Terminal Sound System, Troum, Subterranean Source, and 27.

This sampling of performers feeds a different side of the introspective soul, delivering ambience rooted in no geographic standards. This music stems from a nebulous realm of stateless being, where the mind looks outward on an infinite expanse of pure consciousness.

While some tracks (like the contribution from Son-Dha) exhibit a modicum of ethnic influences, and others (like Terminal Sound System) explore a more artificial synthesis of mind and machine, the overall effect of the music on this collection remains abstract and untinged by mortal comparison. These songs define an alternate dimension unfettered by flesh, where sound is an extension of mentation, resulting in pure expansion of mind.

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