Following up one of the few excellent neo-electro/disco compilations would've been a thankless task for any label. However, Ghostly International proves to be more than up to the challenge with Idol Tryouts, their second various-artist full-length. Unlike Disco Nouveau, which went outside the label's stable for all but one of its tracks, Idol Tryouts keeps it strictly in-house. This showcases the mix of IDM, abstract hip-hop, pulverizing industrial-electro, and minimal tech-house Ghostly and its Spectral subsidiary have been cultivating since late 1999, and it also previews some upcoming projects that will extend the label's stylistic reach. Bookended by two tracks from Dabrye's "Payback" 12" -- including Prefuse 73's def(t) Megamix of One/Three highlights -- the filling is all but completely filler-free. Dykehouse's cover of Wire's "Map Ref. " is closer to My Bloody Valentine's version than the original, casting a pulsating gauze over a bassline that could be skipping up a freshly minted vapor trail. Charles Manier's "At the Bottle," reprised from the Disco Nouveau: Addendum 12", features the type of battering rhythms and multiple lines of careening keyboards that only Manier can provide. Matthew Dear, Osborne, and James Cotton represent the Spectral division, an offshoot with its gaze permanently fixed on the dancefloor; Dear and Osborne's tracks are minimal house productions that are deep and dubby, while Cotton's is easily the most manic on the disc (that synthetic cowbell is out of control). Organic/synthetic indie alt-dance exponents Midwest Product chip in with two of their most moody yet optimistic songs yet, the second of which is a Telefon Tel Aviv remix with contemporary hip-hop production nuances. New jacks Outputmessage and Kiln -- two home-listening Morr-style tracks -- factor in, and so does the aptly named Kill Memory Crash.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman