Various Artists

Cashier Escape Route

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City Centre Offices' Cashier Escape Route features 17 tracks from 16 electronic artists, all of whom apparently used supermarkets as the inspiration behind their contributions. Puzzlingly enough, this fact is only evident in the handful of selections that use vocals and a couple others that are titled accordingly. If it weren't for the title of the disc and the artwork that depicts a trio of suited men and their shopping buggies, the theme might totally escape the listener. At any rate, the disc features IDM and crunchy pop electronica from a number of noteworthy producers. Skanfrom's "Electronique Supermarket," the lead song and the only true vocal-based pop tune here, fits somewhere between Gary Numan and Kraftwerk -- especially so if the two artists' fascinations involved commerce instead of science fiction and traveling (produce scanners instead of Geiger counters, etc.). Arovane's "Diskomarkt" is an uncharacteristic Uwe Zahn production, using disorienting keyboard melodies, yanking string stabs, and a robot voice that repeats the word "supermarket" throughout. Perhaps Zahn made the track with the intent to have it piped endlessly through the market's speakers that greet customers as they enter from the parking lot. Synth pop/new wave-inspired instrumentals from Styrofoam ("Cashier Escape Song"), Solvent ("Frozen Food"), and Frederik Schikowski ("Station Breslauer Strasse," which sounds like the fifth part of the Human League's The Dignity of Labour) bump trolleys with more experimental electronics from the likes of Pole ("Sachte"), To Rococo Rot + D ("Robfrog"), and Lexaunculpt ("Plus and Minus Miss C-Bug"). Altogether, Cashier Escape Route is a more suitable soundtrack for waiting for the butcher when compared to muzak versions of classic rock staples. More importantly, these songs work at home as well -- whether you're on the couch or stocking the fridge.

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