Various But Then Again

As the saying goes, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. So, since this birthday-celebration compilation makes me happy with its fantastic mix of low-key chilled techno jams and smooth instrumentals, I say: happy fifth, ~Scape. The Berlin-based label founded by Barbara Preisinger and Stefan Betke is known for its presentation of music that is one step ahead (and sometimes a few too many to be widely enjoyed) in a range of electronic styles from minimal dub techno to startling blends of the untouched voice with computer-fed back drops. Like a tasty red wine, this comp unbottles the good stuff. The collection balances elegance with ingenuity. It warms up slowly with Thomas Fehimann’s ethereal trip-hop instrumental "Take 5,” followed by Mike Shannon’s slow industrial desolation featuring June’s elegant R&B voice, and later Epo’s bomb track "Doorstep,” only to finish with Crackhaus’s gorgeous fine-glitch-dub "Birthday Bangers and Mash.” Other artists include John Tejada, Bus and Dabrye, Jan Jelinek, Rechenzentrum and Masha Qrella. Throughout, subtlety of arrangement meets creativity and produces a rare calm yet energised vibe. It also makes for a fluid listen although each track is distinct from the last. It’s so classy; one might suggest it’s of connoisseur quality. (Scape)