Various Artists

Channel 1: A Compilation of Output Recordings

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Since its inception near the end of 1996, Trevor "Zelig" Jackson's Output label has been a playground for mostly forward-thinking musicians and producers who can be roughly pigeonholed as either post-rock or left-field dance (or, in some cases, a combination of the two). Channel 1: A Compilation of Output Recordings comes after the label's first 30 releases, and functions as a representative introduction to what the label has had to offer. Despite the fact that Jackson's vision for the label becomes somewhat clear, the acts are still scattered all over the map; not many label samplers can start off with a winding, unassuming, 15-minute epic of folky electronics (Fridge's "Angelpoised") and then strike upon slightly paranoiac electro-disco (the extended version of 7 Hurtz' "Stokers Motor") only two tracks later. And then there's lb's twitchy cyborg cover of James Brown's "Superbad," which is only a few tracks away from Circle Square's "Distance (After)," a somber trip-hop track with shoegaze production sensibilities. Output hasn't been as innovative as many have led you to believe. However, the label has built up a rather sturdy bank of quality music, with a sense of quality control that many other independents would do well to adopt. Output should also be applauded for their efforts to bridge the gap between indie rock and dance music.

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