Before We Melt
V/A: Before We Melt: Cyclic Defrost Review
Since its inception back in 2001, Oakland, California-based free netlabel IVDT has emphasised “quality over quantity” – a maxim that’s allowed them to build up a label catalogue of download-only releases that would put many commercial labels to shame. With the Northern Hemisphere winter approaching, this latest seasonally themed compilation from IVDT Before We Melt gathers together ten new tracks from the label’s artist roster that lean predominantly towards gentle IDM and downbeat electronics. While the tracklisting favours lesser known producers, n5MD’s Bitcrush and Lackluster are the two most recognisable names: the former’s ‘Glacial’ certainly lives up to its title, opening proceedings with a wash of intricately textured glitchy ambience that almost calls to mind the crunch of snow under foot. Lackluster’s ‘Kontulalibrarytrak’ ventures further out into majestic downbeat landscapes, rich melodic synth pads and analogue synth squelches, drifting out over a planktonic backdrop of slow, pneumatic beats.
By contrast, Phortran’s piano-led ‘First Snow’ manages to inject a sense of digitally-sculpted soul amidst its playfully off-centre jazzy rhythms and trilling clavinet keys. Qu.one’s ‘The Best July’ offers up what’s perhaps this collection’s most icy and brittle moment, with tremulous digital processing lurking at the very edges like alien chatter as arrhythmic broken rhythms trace a serene path beneath. It’s also not just purely IDM that’s on the listening menu here, as Edison’s laidback fusion of digitally-reconstructed acoustic guitars and DJ Shadow-esque drum breaks on ‘Isis and Eve’ and Headphone Science’s epic wander into moody dubstep on ‘Snefnug’ (a standout highlight), clearly illustrate. An excellent download-only compilation from IVDT that’s well worth investigating – you can also download it for free from http://ivdt.net/ivdtmp3070.html.
V/A: Before We Melt: Vital Weekly Review
BEFORE WE MELT (Compilation CD by IVDT)
Sitting here in the Northern Hemispheres' warm days of spring it is quite a pleasure watching the snowfilled landscape presented on the artwork of present album from the Oakland-based label IVDT. Since the opening three pieces on this 45-minutes running compilation titled "Before we melt" have a quite dark and melancholic nature, I had the idea that the titled refers to the global warming crisis but the theme on this compilation is simply the cold winter. Most tracks on the album has a title referring to the winter-time and the musical quality of the compilation is quite high. Opening with Bitcrush a.k.a. Mike Cadoo (former member of IDM-project Gridlock), the track titled "Glacial" is a beautiful and quite dark drone-based ambient-work followed by another melancholic drone-based work by the composer Electricwest. Downbeat rhythm-textures gently follows the distant drones on this IDM-based work by Electricwest. Third track is my favorite piece of the compilation: "Kontulalibrarytrack" is a grandiose downbeat piece of sheer beauty created by Lackluster running approx. 6 minutes and with the same longing melancholy of the opening two pieces. From this track forward the atmosphere changes into a slightly more light and lush with a number of IDM until the second final track by Headphone Science that moves back to the melancholy of the opening three tracks. A pleasant album that for the main part circulates in the downbeat/ambient spheres of IDM. And the best thing: The album can be downloaded for free from the the website mentioned below. I highly recommend you to do so... (Niels Mark)