VARIOUS ARTISTS - THE UNITED WORLD UNDERGROUND COLLECTION VOLUME 1 (MUSIC & ELSEWHERE)
A bumper collection released to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Music & Elsewhere, perhaps the biggest and longest running tape label with a catalogue of over 600 albums, which has now expanded into digital releases. This set comprises a data disc with 30 albums of 320kbps mp3s, 50 bonus tracks, 3 pdf books, a 64 page illustrated pdf booklet, and a CD of the first United World Underground compilation originally released in 2001. You get 33 hours of music and extra visual material for just Ł15, including P+P worldwide.
Music & Elsewhere celebrates eclecticism and underground creativity. There are no genre boundaries here, and fans of most non-mainstream styles will find something they enjoy on this album. There's the kitsch, quirky and fun DIY electropop of X-Ray Pop; the angular and manic art-rock of Ir Visa Tai Kas Yra Gražu Yra Gražu; the film score-esque electronic composition of Artemiy Artemiev; the ambient spacerock of Mick Magic and Chris Carter; the gothic psychedelia of The Flowers of Romance; and the spiky experimental prog rock of Zartipo.
Trespassers W's Carmen Miranda is a kind of lopsided cabaret-folk-pop with a Latin American twist. Glass make darkly atmospheric music that straddles the boundaries between gothic rock and dreampop. Rotton Kidz sounds like the name of a punk band, but their Southeast Asia Peace Circle Dance is actually a very lovely world music piece with a ritualistic tribal feel. Karg's Himmel is a bizarre though effective mix of doomy, sludgy drone-rock, scratchy fiddle and death metal screams; despite my usual aversion to metal, I found this an engaging listen. Magic Moments at Twilight Time bring together experimentation, spacerock, punk, and rock 'n' roll in their medley Introduction/Trois/Blitzkrieg! Toshiyuki Hiraoka combines frenetic 1990s video game-like electronic music with plaintive acoustic guitar, creating a listening experience that is both brooding and fun all at once.
Three of my favourites from M&E's days as a tape label are included here. Mana ERG's Another is a true classic of the label, combining lilting psychedelia, ferocious noise-rock, and a free thinking creative attitude. Pornorphans' Innocent is dark, intense and emotional alt-rock with a strong memorable melody. The Witches' Bliss is brilliant folky, dark-edged pagan rock sure to appeal to folk-rockers and goths alike.
Over on the CD there's Into the Abyss, whose brand of underground rock takes on board goth, spacerock, prog, classical and Middle Eastern influences; Grass Harp, with a floaty, Eastern-tinged, proggy/psychey number; the laid-back country-rock of Blacklight Braille; cassette culture icon Lord Litter with a slightly off-centre take on US-style folk-rock; The Stinking Badger of Java with their brilliant bendy choppy-changey quirky rock; the dark and frenetic electronica of Cosmic Dance Society; and Steve Andrews, another icon of the cassette underground who more recently went on to bigger things with an appearance on Britain's Got Talent, teams up with Ned Zero for a dance-rock reworking of Steve's classic track Real Love and Communication, in which intense psych-rock guitar is effectively interspersed with thumping electro beats and vocoder.
Find out more at www.mickmagic.net
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