Various - Alex Tronic Records Volume 1
Album Review

Various – Alex Tronic Records Volume 1

This compilation from the Alex Tronic Record label sets out pretty successfully to show us that Scottish music isn’t just about young, hairy Scamps with drug problems who can’t get US visas or arrogant knobheads who think they can bash Bloc Party after having one ‘hit’ and shagging Kylie.

(All right, there’s no actual evidence for that ‘shagging’ part, it’s just a hunch, but if there’s soon a little Kylie-Calvin hybrid running around don’t say you weren’t warned).

The thirteen tracks here range from rap (Hooverfish feat. Mc Solareye) to prog (Keser) to reggae (Et Bib) to trip-hop (Pockets of Resistance) but they all have some kind of mellowness to them to make this a manageable listen and not just some weird non-John Cusack mix-tape that doesn’t hang together.

Et Bib’s ‘Dub Viser’ is essentially an ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ update with one key difference – Scottish rapping. Initially it just doesn’t work. Of all the languages and dialects that would suit rap you’d probably have Scottish as rank last, well, all right maybe some Kazakhstan guy would sound weirder but still, it’s an odd mix. But somehow it grows on you and just fits, and that’s true of a lot of stuff on this record.

‘Horus Lives’ by Keser first sounds like an Explosions in the Sky version of ‘Some Might Say’ and although after repeat listens it can still be summed up like that, the thought becomes a lot more appealing. What next a Mars Volta version of ‘Country House’? Well no, it’s actually Marvin Wilson doing his cheesy sex-music-meets-Propellerheads copy of Faithless’ ‘Drifting Away’
(you know, that tune from ‘Trigger Happy TV’ when the spies are lurking in the park.)

Too much of this album blends into the next track without making any impression at all, but that’s probably to be expected on a 62 minute compilation of unknown artists. And when you’ve got guys as potentially great as the Sufjan Stevens-meets Ebb-with-a-bit-of-Damien-Rice-thrown-in
Sixpeopleaway then it all becomes worthwhile. On the basis of ‘Celtic Harp’
then Joe Acheson Quartet are also worth having a Google for with their lovely Portishead-Slow Dazzle mix.

Although too much of this compilation blurs into one without grabbing the attention, and the second half lacks any real kind of momentum, this is still a perfectly good chill-out album that would have made a solid addition to the ‘All Back to Mine’ series.

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