Various Artists

Alt. Frequencies

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AllMusic Review by

A wonderful hidden treasure that earns a blue ribbon for the boutique label Worm Interface out of London. Alt. Frequencies makes for a satisfying compilation, since most of the lesser-known material rivals the quality of the name-brand acts that pop up. Dunderhead opens the disc with the Japanese court music/trip-hop hybrid "Doditsu": piano and kyoto mingle around a reggae-style drum loop, marinated with analog synth twirls and a floor-warming bassline. Freeform does a pretty good Mike & Rich imitation with his track "Dice," one that captures the jazzy noodlings of Mike Paradinas as much as the percussive junkbox of Richard D. James. Another celebrity contribution unfurls its flag as Gescom (better known as glitch duo Autechre) lays out wonderful polyrhythms and surprisingly warm chords in "SKFL2"; it has all the necessary random qualities the pair is known for, but this piece seems to stay more organic than some. David Kristian takes drum'n'bass duties, for which he seems capable of handling easily enough on his track "Ooohville." Even if the results don't break any new ground, he provides a decent dose of caffeine to the halfway point of the CD. Later, Coma B adds a similar aesthetic with jungle rhythms and science-lab sequencers that pulse along with logical succession. Tom Jenkinson adds even more clout to the disc with a couple non-album treats. First he pounds away mid-tempo in "Vogon & I" -- an atonal sort of second cousin to Aphex Twin's "Ventolin" single -- and then later he sputters out "Happy Little Wilberforce": jackhammer percussion offset by human beatbox samples, breaking into jazzy electric piano chord clusters (think of his Conumber EP versus the Fat Boys). "Analiz" is an engaging Spacetime Continuum-style number that follows a dreamy and linear path, as Replicant explores its structure for over ten satisfying minutes; lean sequencers and a reserved drum structure hug the tracks of a monorail all the way to Neptune. A few other songs (one unlisted) bring the disc to near capacity, expanding the album's palette further with somber and meditative tracks like "Aleisters Requim" or "Lounge Lizard," where the installation-style mechanics of Plasmalamp mirror the electro-random tones of Nobukazu Takemura or Mouse on Mars. Alt. Frequencies deserves the effort it might take to track down, and electronica fans will enjoy the ground it covers as much as who's covering it.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
6:52
2
6:51
3
7:41
4
7:08
5
5:47
6
3:56
7
7:03
8
10:12
9
5:22
10
11:48
blue highlight denotes track pick