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Compilations - Issue 576

Watergate XV

Various

Watergate XV

Watergate
8.0
With a mammoth 25 tracks included in this 15th anniversary compilation, it’s hard to know where to start, and difficult to complain. What some tracks lack in oomf, others, such as Marco Resmann’s excellent heads down chugger, ‘Beehive’, provide in precision-produced spades. Where you might think this tune is too simplistic and functional, elsewhere there are patient, detailed, and trippy outings – for example ‘Nyepi’, from Osunlade, or Kollektiv Turmstrasse’s beautiful closer, ‘Kisses In The Dark’. With big guns likes Solomun, Henrik Schwarz, Matthias Meyer, Alex Niggemann, Tiefschwarz, Steve Bug, Butch, Cinthie, Sebo K and Anja Schneider also representing, you couldn't ask for a more Watergate compilation. Up against many Berlin institutions the venue occupies a musical middle ground – defining itself as neither full-throttle techno nor unashamedly house, and that’s what’s offered here. A genuine reflection of a club in an album isn’t easy, or commonplace, so while those looking for nosebleeds and brute force will come up short – Ellen Allien’s meaty driver ‘Lost In Paradise’ is perhaps the closest we come to here – anyone with an ear for the four-four spectrum that stops just before militants take control should find more than a few worthy of attention.
Martin Guttridge-Hewitt
Diggin in the Carts: A Collection of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music

Various

Diggin in the Carts: A Collection of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music

Hyperdub

Next level sounds
8.0
Put down the PS4 Pro controller and step back to a time when video games had less pixels and more bleeps. Based on Nick Dwyer’s RBMA documentary series, this fascinating collection unearths a universe of vintage game tunes, compiled by Dwyer and Hyperdub boss Kode9. Tracks are taken from games on truly old-school systems, such as Nintendo’s Super Famicom and the MSX, and it’s not hard to see the influence of these golden, glitchy sounds on modern electronica. From the diverse cuts of Konami Kukeiha Club (the sound team of developer Konami) to Michiharu Hasuya’s beautiful ‘Solomon’s Key’ excerpt to Soshi Hosoi’s awesome, Philip Glass/Reich-influenced ‘Mister Diviner’ (from ‘The Mahjong Touhaiden’), everything here has its own oddball story to tell. Though an appreciation of 8-bit and chiptune will help, you don’t have to be a gaming geek to appreciate this weird treasure trove.
Tristan Parker
Underground Sound Of Glasgow

Various

Underground Sound Of Glasgow

Glasgow Underground

Aye pal!
9.0
Curated by Kevin McKay, this celebratory release marks the iconic label's 20 years in the game. He asked his favourite Glaswegian producers to offer up tracks inspired and designed specifically for the Glasgow crowd. The 15-track compilation sees a mixture of names including Jasper James, Hammer, JD Twitch, Illyus & Barrientos, and Mateo & Matos offer up a wide spectrum of sounds. It's a sumptuous mix of electronic music drawing upon italo-disco, balearic beats, ‘80s and ‘90s-slanting house and rave, tech house to techno and blissed out electronica. “You can really hear what Glasgow Underground, and the city itself, is all about right now," says Kevin McKay. And he's not wrong. Highlights run throughout the compilation, though it's worth mentioning Ceol's dark haunted houser, 'Give Yourself To Me', and Auntie Flo's tropical textured, 'Desert Island'. This makes for a very happy Birthday indeed!
Leon Clarkson