Various Artists, Afterglow [October Man Recordings – OCTOBER MAN 2, 2005]

omr2_afterglow_EPThe sheer bulk of musical talent out there and the contrast to what you get to hear on a regular night out is overwhelming at all times and frightening more times than not. The compilation “Afterglow” recently released (Feb 2005) by newcomer label October Man Recordings demonstrates this in the clearest of ways. October Man is yet another record label going for the CDR/DIY strategy and “Afterglow” is their second release (I’ve yet to hear the first). The compilation is 10 tracks long and features artists such as Cheju (yes, from Boltfish), Z-arc, Boc Scadet, Ian Baxter, Shirase, Landis and proud label owner October Man all fitted in a very smart looking package proving once and for all that less really is more. You get quality and a multitude of variation on electronic music from down tempo ambience to dance floor oriented beats delights. Cheju does the honours and opens up “Shibuja” the first out of two contributions. It’s great forward moving bass niceness story with an addictive melody added for good measure. The second contribution “Strates” is as good if not even better, the bubbly beats, bassline, string arrangements and call and response melody does the trick once more. In one word: top-class! And Cheju’s undisputable production skills are shining throughout both these tracks. Z-arc also contributes with two strong tracks “Procedure : 033-03” and “Silver Lava” and out-of-them the latter is a real gem: down tempo beats fused with atmospheric elements, the end result’s compelling in all aspects. The first one’s laid back treading beats, melody and compact bassline’s not far behind. Ian Baxter goes for the drone in his first contribution the minimal and hypnotic “SK and VL”. It would be interesting to hear this on the big sound with proper channel separation although it probably takes both its (wo)man and sound system to play it back. Boc Scadet who reportedly also is a proud label owner (clickclickdrone) delivers an ambient excursion with top-of the class composition, lovely strings in solitude and downplayed beats, slowly spreading thru the sound carrier that surrounds us all: the air, that is. Landis continues the path struck by Boc Scadet on the fifth offering on “Afterglow” with the decidedly ambient as well as beautiful “Alchemical”. The soundscapes sprinkled with a hint of glitch creates the atmosphere. Shirase “Useless Fool” is another droned-out track with visible qualities and if playing the record sequentially a well-matched quartet is formed. October Man’s contribution “Saving Daylight” strides off the ambient path and brings back the beat, in a very gentle way that is. A nursery-rhyme-like crystalline melody is accompanied by a straightforward beat and additional sound elements. Together they create a very sweet song. The tenth and last track “Nice New Chord” by Ian Baxter settles slowly as the sounds of a gently treated stringed instrument fade away and thereby conclude the compilation. “Afterglow” is a good effort by the newly established October Man Recordings bringing forth some interesting old and new acquaintances at that.