L.A.'s Reinhardt Records has launched a compilation series designed to draw together multiple styles of electronic music. This debut doesn't feel particularly wide-ranging, but it is an entertaining collection.
We get ten tracks featuring artists from Europe primarily — England, Germany, Belgium, Croatia, Italy and Romania are all represented, as is Trumpland. Together, these tunes make a killer warmup playlist for your Saturday night out; just about everything's at or around 120 b.p.m.
That's not to say the disc lacks range. Electro, house and techno are all on the agenda. The label has also tagged the release as ambient, but that feels more like an exercise in search-engine optimization than it does a proper classification.
Volume 01 has its share of highlights. Alcala's "Pixelated" is a banging techno track. "It Takes Two" from Akim# — which happily borrows nothing from either Rob Base or DJ E-Z Rock — is sweet as candy, with a lovely understated vocal.
Astrea's "Grass" is so smooth it deserves to be called "Glass"; its soaring keyboards work as a strong counterpoint to the incessant, straight-ahead beat. It wouldn't be surprising to hear that the old Factory Records stalwart Section 25 is an influence.
These aren't the only highlights though. Antenna Happy, Aimes and David Hasert all make positive additions and Hasert's nod to Kate Bush ("In the Trees") in particular will delight the old-timers.
The complexity of Squarewave's "King Storm" is a good indication of Reinhardt's intention to push the boundaries a bit. There's an awkwardness to the track that will earn the admiration of serious electronic music heads, along with the frustration of mainstream club DJs. Good on them. (Reinhardt Records)