It has long been the aim of San Francisco's Asphodel Records to fuse the freshest sounds from hip-hop/techno/breakbeat culture with the experimental spirit of early electronic music (think musique concrete). With the encouragement of label head Naut Humon, turntablists like DJ Spooky, Mix Master Mike, and Rob Swift stretch out on unified album creations like Songs of a Dead Dreamer (1996), Anti-Theft Device (1998), and The Ablist (1999). Label endorsed long-players, rather than homemade-style mixtapes/CDs became the choice format for record spinners. Adding further dimension to the Asphodel roster during the late '90s were a handful of equally skilled electronic craftsmen. Asphodelic is the perfect introduction to the label, bringing together the work of seven East Coast/West Coast beat deconstructionists. Mix Master Mike's "Supa Wyde Laces" and "Billie Klubb" find the DJ relishing in a new vocabulary. Though they both feature their share of impressive vinyl dicing, the tracks are more explorations in tone and texture than displays of jaw-dropping skill. Icy tones hang suspended over a crackling break-beat on DJ Spooky's "Soon Forward," while his "Synaptic Dissonance" veers into more ominous territory. Thick swathes of scratch work cut through a dense mix that climaxes with layers of abrasive beat clusters. Tipsy embraces Re/Search-style easy listening on "Tuatara" and "Bunny Kick" and Large Professor produces a beat-thumping mix of Rob Swift's excellent "Dope on Plastic." There's hardly a dud in the set and, unlike most label samplers, Asphodelic's combination of electro beat flurries and turntable scratch and paste makes for a surprisingly satisfying whole.
AllMusic Review by Nathan Bush