Various SMM: Context

Various SMM: Context
Over the past decade, Cologne, Germany's Kompakt Records has arguably become better known for their yearly artist showcase comps than for many of their full-lengths. Ann Arbor ,MI label Ghostly International has clearly been taking note, as SMM: Context (the first volume in their new yearly compilation series) exclusively showcases beat-less, formless, heavily textured ambient and drone. Pulling in 11 Wire Magazine-friendly composers from across Europe and North America, SMM: Context sounds surprisingly diverse and focused, as the austere naivety of Portland, OR pianist Goldmund sits in contrast next to the gorgeous, flowing synth-hum of the UK's Leyland Kirby (aka V/Vm), the faux-menace-to-fidelity of Aidan Baker (of Toronto, ON doomers Nadja) and the dreamy acoustic guitar reconfigurations of M. Ward and Horse Feathers session player Peter Broderick. The beats-meets-drone-meets-concerto mix of SMM: Context should keep avant-garde enthusiasts tuned-in for the long haul, proving just how rich, diverse and brave electronic music has become since it left the club for the bedroom. (Ghostly International)