Various Artists

4 Women No Cry, Vol. 1

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Released by the excellent Monika label, this compilation -- planned to be the first in a series -- has a concept summed up in the title: four women from different countries, all known for working in electronic/dance styles, each contributing a slew of songs. Everyone's tracks are grouped together, so the end result is more like a collection of four EPs, but the transitions between the artists are smoothly managed and the end result is a fine showcase for all four. Argentina's Rosario Blefari begins the album, her "Partir y Renunciar" starting as a murky drone before adding a clattering, hollow beat and dub bass as the setting for her gentle singing and a touch of acoustic guitar. It's a sharp blend that emphasizes the electronics first and foremost, as her other songs like "Nunca," a slow, moody piece, and the concluding collage of beats and loops, "Vidriera Chilena," make clear. Georgia's Tusia Beridze follows with a series of six short, understated compositions, building on her earlier work well in its range from gentle chorales with whispered counterpoints ("Gorod") to minimal torch songs ("Cuet") and IDM cut-ups ("Late"). The sequence has the feeling of a late-night soundtrack to a cityscape, and works very well as a whole as well as song for song. Frenchwoman Eglantine Gouzy parallels Beridze in presenting six short pieces for her contribution, with the initial "Eglantine Longe" almost sounding like an extension of Beridze's work. "Nurse Song" changes the tone with Gouzy's semi-whispered/gasped singing and meditative blend of keyboards and what sounds a bit like harp, with the remainder of her work suggesting a vocal-added version of Boards of Canada's playful explorations. Catarina Pratter brings the comp home to Germany at the end, alternating between shorter and longer tracks. The standout is "Dreamin of Love," which sets a grumbling industrial buzz and steady beats underneath subtle, wistful vocals to create what could almost be a modern Suicide song.

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