Various Artists | Islands Series

Foundry/Archipelago | 6 x 3

Archipelago n. 1 a group of islands. 2 a sea with many islands. [It. arcipelago f. Gk arkhi- chief + pelagos sea (orig. = the Aegean Sea)]

Of the two definitions above perhaps the latter is the more apt. It's easy to see how electronica/microsound (even trying to establish a name for this endlessly-mutating genre is difficult) can be likened to a sea. So many eddies, currents and undertows; so few recognisable landmarks to focus on. The Archipelago - a series of six 3" CDs from The Foundry and Boxman Studies labels - is a gemlike snapshot of six islands that map some of the more compelling landscapes, each well worth visiting.

Like Darwin's Galapagos Finches - each showing markedly differing features, yet retaining key common characteristics - each 3" CD in the series offers its own evolved aesthetic and each offers its own rewards.

From the fluctuating atmospherics of Seofon's 'Immanent' which veers between the lush warmth of the opening 'skyle' to the beat-driven loops of the closing 'eth' to the playful sound collages of Dean Santomeri which humourously employ both analog and digital sampling techniques, the Archipelago series is one of constant surprises. Csero's 'Pikoliftor', created entirely using a PC-based Commodore64 emulator, is a welcome return to the elegant simplicity of pure wave forms while Rhomb's, aptly-titled, 'Lunatic' features the results of two years of collaboration between Foundry owner Michael Bentley and fellow musician Nathan Kreisberg.

Needless to say, to try to describe six 3" CDs in brief is difficult to say the least. Like a poor-quality satellite photograph one can only hope to offer a glimpse of the land that lies below, but on the evidence of this series each CD is an island well worth exploring in further detail.


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