Various Artists

Eyelicker Sublight Compilation

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The Sublight label is already one of America's most important repositories of the emerging breakcore genre, a musical style characterized by frenetic, jungly beats, glitchy sonics, kaleidoscopic textural shifts and general sonic mayhem. It's the sound of tightly controlled chaos, an explosively funky mess that can't help but excite even as it makes you reach with trembling fingers for the extra-strength ibuprofen. The Eyelicker Sublight Compilation is about as good an introduction to the genre as you could ask for; it features contributions from such already respected names as Datach'i and Venetian Snares, as well as relative up-and-comers like Wisp, Enduser and Flashbulb. Most of the tracks are instrumental, though lyrics do occasionally emerge (and not always for the better, as Belladonnakillz' smarmy "Under Cover" demonstrates with squicky glee). The best moments are instrumental: Datach'i's nervous and squidgy "Breech," Flashbulb's beautiful "Hometown UFO" (which combines sumptuous chord changes with hyperactive breaks à la Aphex Twin), and WISP's similarly lovely "Uxe-Bu" are typical examples. Perhaps the album's most impressive offering is Vorpal's "Precarious Arrangements," which starts off sounding like Squarepusher channeling James Brown before it lapses into a seriously weird and off-kilter reggae beat. There's so much going on that you'll have to listen to some of these tracks three or four times before you can absorb it all, and you'll probably find yourself doing that happily. And then going to bed with a serious headache.

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