Various Artists

Across Uneven Terrain: A Fat Cat Compilation, 1997-1999

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Across Uneven Terrain: A Fat Cat Compilation, 1997-1999 Review

by Dean Carlson

A fascinating, yet inconsistent compilation exhibiting Fat Cat Records' diverse roster of experimental techno, post-rock, and ambient musicians. This eclectic label started as a record shop specializing in the underground, avant-garde segment of the dance scene (having loyal customers ranging from Scanner to Andrew Weatherall), and this collection goes some way in proving it. Funkstorung remixes Björk with an acidic beat, Grain does a decent approximation of ambient dub, and Live Human jumbles laid-back jazz textures with some old-school scratching. Even among other exclusives, though, the real treat is Transient Waves' "Paradise." It takes Slint-like roots and forges ahead into an ethereally beautiful terrain that most post-rock staples consistently forget about. Nevertheless, while the compilation is an impressive body of work, it doesn't gel too often and even lacks one of the Fat Cat's later coups: Sigur Ros. Respect is due for a compilation like this, but similar to the label itself, possibly more for its eclecticism than its outright excellence.

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