Various Artists


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To celebrate its fifth anniversary, the British post-rock label Ochre held a one-day music festival on November 27, 1999. The aptly titled 271199 presents excerpts of the performances heard that day. The sound quality is excellent, which is almost surprising in such a context (small label, etc.). Each performer is awarded one track; the recordings are unavailable elsewhere. Ochre recording artists and related well-wishers take turns to draw a varied but quite coherent picture. On one end of the spectrum, listeners have alternative singer/songwriter AMP premiering "Blind Man's Bluff," a song presented as being only two days old. Then there are the space and psychedelic rockers: The Serpents, Longstone, and Infinity Chimps all deliver inspired performances. The label's biggest names are Land of Nod, Skyray, Glide, and 90 Degrees South, and each has one piece on the CD. The latter's "Blue Sky Barrow" remains one of its best, but in a live setting it definitely lacks spontaneity (90 Degrees South is more of a studio project). Sonic Boom's E.A.R. (Experimental Audio Research) contributes the most experimental track, a free improvisation on electronics. Proceedings close with a jam session involving members of Spiritualized, Massive Attack, and Portishead. It would be easy to consider 271199 as only a document for those who were (or wish they could have been) there. But the sound quality and steady level of musicianship displayed here make this CD a good place to start for those interested in the British underground post-rock scene and a must-have for fans.

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