Various Artists

The Freest of Radicals

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After three years of Internet-only activity as an MP3 label, the Montreal-based No Type decided to take the plunge into the physical world of CD edition. Released in April 2002, The Freest of Radicals launched the catalog. This two-CD compilation album offers quite a few mouthfuls: 36 tracks from 34 artists, for a total of 155 minutes -- too much for most listeners to absorb in one session. Most of these artists are known only to the people who frequented the label's website, but fame has nothing to do with quality and the label proves it once again. From sound art and experimental electronica up to IDM, minimal techno, techno-lounge, and more melodic material, the album takes you on quite a wild ride (including an unexpected stop into post-rock with Kanovanik). Highlights are just too numerous to mention, especially since every listener will have his or her favorites. To just drop a few names: Tomas Jirku, Magali Babin, ja_dijiste, Books on Tape, Infoslut, and so many others. The quality of the selections compensates for the somewhat dizzying scope of styles covered. The weirdest tracks often end up being the best, and discoveries await by the dozen. The fact that No Type adopted the highly original package design of the electro-acoustic label Empreintes DIGITALes is icing on the cake. Its pretentious title notwithstanding, The Freest of Radicals offers a panoramic view of things to come in electronica.

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