steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Various Artists

"Expedition_3" CD

Everest Records

Genre: electronic, experimental

Jun 15, 2009

In general, compilations are a critic's nightmare, and Expedition_3 is no exception. This hefty fifteen-track sampler is a stylistically and generically eclectic affair, smartly oscillating between experimental atmospherics and more conventional electronic composition. Of course, it helps that the compilation is actually really good, yet the prospect of writing about fifteen different artists contributing fifteen different pieces of music is still undeniably daunting.

So I'll make this as simple as I can. Listeners interested in the outer boundaries of electronic music will likely find much to salivate over amid this substantial collection of sounds. On the more experimental end of matters lies a strong sampling of atmospheric material, including BlindeKinder's textured, organic "Siro," Seychal-Mills' brilliant sample-work "Kill for Her," and Iqb's sinister "Track & Trace". These abstract compositions comprise some of Expedition_3's most superb moments.

Meanwhile, more rhythmic electronic music encompasses at least half of this disc, and with it comes several tracks worth mentioning. Romeo's uplifting, momentous "Trace" is a fine dose of deep, cinematic techno, matching a terrific rhythm to an inspiring synth melody. On the other hand, Manuel Engel's glitchy "Daddy G" is a slyly pensive bit of IDM that exudes clear shades of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher. Not every moment stands up to these highlights, although contributions by Starting Teeth, Les Poissons Autistes, and Copy & Paste are also worth examining.

The Everest label has designed a sampler that rivals most similar efforts, and for that they must be congratulated. Due to sheer quality, Expedition_3 has avoided the calamity that typically befalls such undertakings, thus somewhat buffering the terror that those pesky Various Artists have instilled in me.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 15 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2008]