Various Audioactivism #2

Jarring Effects follows up their 2006 electro hip-hop compilation with this interesting collection of songs, most of which were previously released on a series of EPs by the label over the last couple of years, with the exception of a few offerings from some smaller labels. The beat selection is varied, but the album is cohesive, in large part thanks to the presence of some of the most abstract MCs currently working at the fringes of hip-hop. K-the-I??? blows minds with Ben Sharpa over R;Zatz's left-field hip-hop on "My Brain Doesn't Work" (the compilation's most hip-hop song), then goes solo over Kaly Live Dub's spacey, stripped-back "Conflicts," while Bleubird gets partly political on the 8-bit electro of Led Piperz's "Be Brave" and then slows his flow for Uzul's plodding "Treasures." Shadow Huntaz are also impressive, with their ode to hip-hop over Senbei's bass-heavy g-funk ("We Love That"). Final tracks "Abeille," a dark, glitchy, illbient instrumental from Grosso Gadgetto, and "Dark Side," a downtempo track featuring soulful R&B vocals, are definite standouts, although the true album highlight is "Miracle That Glows," a windy illbient track featuring the abstract braggadocio of M. Sayyid and singing on the hook. It also begs the question of why no other member of Anti-Pop Constortium (arguably the leaders of this whole style) were featured on the compilation. Regardless, fans of experimental, envelope-pushing hip-hop and electronic music will find lots to like on this compilation, as it does a fine job blending the two related genres. (Jarring Effects)