Back to Mine

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Far, far into the runs of downbeat excursion series like "Back to Mine," "DJ Kicks," or "One Late Night," it's a blessing to be greeted by such an eccentric mix of material as brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll are able to dig up on their Back to Mine compilation. That it makes for an experience akin to a late night's drunken crawl through your CDs for all those mad tracks you just have to hear right now is even forgivable considering the parade of downbeat electronica dross cluttering record-store racks. And especially so for a family act. It's easy to imagine the Hartnolls arguing over their favorite tracks from an early age; we get a few evocative '60s numbers (from John Barry, Gert Wilden, the Tornadoes, plus an obscure television theme by Robert Mellin's orchestra), plus a few items from the post-punk era (Severed Heads, the Selecter), latter-day alternative (PJ Harvey, the Divine Comedy), and plenty of early acid house nuggets (Plaid, Eon, Warp licensee DSR, Hyper On Experience). There's little attempt made at a flow for this mix, just rudimentary mashed-up transitions -- most of which, however, work surprisingly well. Definitely not the unconscious musical wallpaper of a generic chill-out compilation, but an intriguing collection of tracks appealing to eccentric tastes. The lone Orbital production, the instrumental "Ska'd for Life," is an exclusive.

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