Various 7 8 Thyme: A Saskatoon Independent Music Compilation 1999

Dead prairie town? I think not. And neither does compilation producer Michael Zablocki, who (mostly) successfully compiles a more-than-diverse collection of spoken word, thrash, light acoustic folk, disco, garage, house, ambient, space rock, hip-hop, funk, Asian fusion and grindcore. Furthermore, the quality track by his own band Salvo proves that compilation organisers aren’t always motivated to assemble a CD simply to promote their own mediocre music. As can be expected, there are a few clunkers, a few acts who are obviously young and green (Mahogany Frog, Leonard, Dirtyman, Movie Star Collection), and only the most catholic taste will appreciate all the genres found within. It’s the oddballs that stand out, such as the de-tuned banjo and lazy hip-hop beat that underscore the hick rap “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” by DJ Soso and someone who dares to call themselves Tommy Douglas. The mid-album ambient sequence featuring Pfister, Charles Oparin and Chesterfield is also worth checking out. But, most unusual — and rewarding — is the disco-fied Dalai Lamas who go so far as to employ a full string section to augment their wah-wah grooves, Moog farts, flute solos and Rhodes piano licks. What’s surprising is how well it actually works. The same could be said for Peter Creep’s “Facts of Friction,” a techno track that not only holds it own, but sounds all the more refreshing on a diverse comp such as this, followed-up by the fuzzed-out garage rock of The Heatscores. (7 8 Thyme)