The more enjoyable compilation albums are those that are compiled around a theme. On “Strange Selectors” the clue to the theme is in the title. “Strange Selectors” is a reference to the four radio DJ’s who have compiled the album. There’s Dark Train host, Kate Bosworth. The DJ behind Kites and Pylons, Lee Pylon. The host of The Magic Window, Letters From Mouse and DJ BLeeK Swinney, the host of Urban Music Radio and the BLeeK Monday show.
I feel its only fair to state that I’m a regular listener to all four shows, normally through the Mixcloud app. These DJ’s have been inspiring my music collection and consequently denting my wallet with there selections for some time now. Each DJ has their own, enthusiastic and passionate take on the world of electronic based music. Their shows display a wonderful breadth of styles and knowledge and between them there aren’t many genres or sub-genres left unturned. So having the fantastic four selecting four songs each for a compilation album is an intriguing and noteworthy project.
“Strange Selectors” is released by the recently formed, Edinburgh based, Werra Foxma Records. The 16 track compilation covers a healthy diverse range of electronica styles, from ambient to synthwave and hauntronica to electronica.
The compilation opens wistfully with “The Heart Sounds Like Heavy Artillery” by the New Orleans based electronic composer Elizabeth Joan Kelly. A suitably gentle opening track built around an ambient soundscape with an almost industrial sounding rhythm. The tempo is slightly raised by “Helltop Highway” from Panamint Manse. Pushed along by a bouncing drum rhythms and surrounded by drifting synth hooks. “Amber Lance”, the perfectly sequenced third track by Faex Optimum, is darker in sound, and full of catchy hooks and drops and powered by an almost two stepping beat. “Silver Bridge” by Pulselovers finds the Doncaster based composer in exceptional form. Psychedelic electronica, deeply layered and textured over a trance inducing, danceable rhythm. “Upper Atmosphere” by Kieran Mahon offers the first drone track, heaving with disorientating panning and phasing.
You never know what you’re getting from the talented and genre straddling composer Rupert Lally, whose body of work covers such a delightfully wide range of styles. On “Abstract Thoughts” Lally has kindly given a clue in the title. Modulated and pitched keys stab around a drifting, swirling, ethereal soundscape that’s decidedly abstract. “Aqualanes” by Survey Channel gradually rises with atmospheric layers of synths and blends half heard vocals with a kick that propels the sound forward. Shasta Approach by Forest Robots finds Fran Dominguez in a more rhythmic state. The simple bass anchors a progressive rhythm over which various intriguing samples play. “Dimension Game” by The Night Monitor is an excellent haunting synthwave track, very much in the Imagined Soundtrack vain. A fantastically mysterious, hypnotic and dark song. “The Walls Are Dripping With Dark Shadows” by The Central Office Of Information is another delightful slice of experimental abstract electronica.