Somnambule - Writing About Music

Bip-hop generation - v.6 (compilation)

I like this compilation a lot. There are a varying number of tracks from the five contributing artists which together produce a consistent flow and a real sense of form. It kicks off with Listening to Radio Rioja Before Going to Sleep by Alejandro and Aeron - the booklet notes have this reader salivating with jealousy: “currently live and work in La Rioja, Spain in a 250 year old building with lovely wood columns” (do they mind total strangers dropping in to stay?) - the sound is like floating in warm amber as eddies of sound (burred noise and snatches of acoustic Spanish guitar) wash over you. Lovely.

Scanner’s first track continues the floating atmosphere (though now more cloud- than amber- like) with waves of celestial sound through which percolate voices, tiny clicks and watery effects; Darska continues this feeling briefly before launching into detailed clickrhythm work, this track has a circa ‘94 Warp Artificial Intelligence feel to it.

Bittonic’s two tracks convey a sense of industrial menace like the sound of distant machinery refracted through changing architectures and might have fitted nicely onto Virgin’s Isolationism compilation.

Ilpo Vaisanen is one half of Finland’s feted Pan Sonic, he contributes three stripped-down percussive tracks here. Horna sounds like circling multiple small detonations in a large cavern with metal skinned lizards slithering away in fear. Koputus sounds suspiciously like somebody drumming on formica with their knuckles and multitracking/phasing the result – great!

Battery Operated’s Sois Dwofe is a chopped up, spooky track echoing with the ghosts of vivisected samples. Kloppy klops into view with klockwork rhythm and cartoon baying, funky and hesitant at the same time - not a mean feat.

Ilpo Vaisanen reappears under the guise of Angel with Dirk Dresselhaus (great name). Nr_11 delivers a blasted visage pocked with noise gradually obliterated out of all recognition by overdriven hum, clatter, rattle and screech. Heavy metal electronica forged by the most twisted of circuits.

State of the art electronica? Not sure. Enjoyable dip into the ocean of electronica lapping at our doorsteps? Surely.
Colin Buttimer
January 2003
Published by the BBC