Various Klein Records All Stars Vol. 1

The folks at Klein Records may have hit upon the next big underground marketing scheme. Make the album art deceptively ugly, but ensure that at least half the content is just above average. That way, potential listeners will expect an immature collection, and when they find something that’s polished and groove-laden they’ll feel like they’ve just discovered the next big thing. Horrid album art aside, the comp is worth your airtime but probably won’t make you do back flips. I-Wolf’s "Positivity” and "Tear it All Down” are stand-outs, particularly the former, with its well-deployed falsetto delivering lyrics in poppy R&B cadence. Albin Janosa’s relaxed head-nodding space house on "Baheux Dub” and Stereoyp meets Al’Haca’s rigid, pared-down ragga on "Blaze and Cook,” showing the diversity of the label. However, it was a bad move to open with the languid "Uplink” by Stratus since it doesn’t quite achieve the heroin chic that it seems to be aiming for, and Seelenluft’s "Baby Baby” is both embarrassingly cliché and plain. As is usually the case with label showcases, it’s a 50/50 mixed bag. (Klein)