Various Artists

Clicks & Cuts, Vol. 3

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For the third year in a row, Mille Plateaux rounded up the best artists from its international stable of affiliate producers and delivered another expansive volume in its cutting-edge Clicks & Cuts series. As with years past, the emphasis here on the third volume is glitch -- or, more broadly, laptop techno. Even so, the Clicks & Cuts series, or perhaps the glitch style itself, does seem to be shifting slowly away from its largely experimental genesis toward accessibility. The first two volumes were quite ideological, packaged luxuriously and laden with forward-looking liner notes; furthermore, the multi-disc collections emphasized the possibilities for glitch, showcasing everything from the ambient bleeps of Alva.Noto and the microsounds of Richard Chartier to the controlled chaos of Kid 606 and the glacial dub-techno of Andreas Tilliander. In relation to those first two volumes, Clicks & Cuts, Vol. 3 seems less monumental. The packaging still features dazzling design, but there aren't any liner notes this time and the musical selection seems narrower. However, though you're not going to find a lot of the ambient/noise/experimental selections that populated the earlier volumes, you're going to find a lot of beautifully crafted, albeit relatively straightforward, laptop techno. The 23 featured artists read like a who's who of the international laptop scene (without exception, every artist here is noteworthy) and the highlights are numerous (obvious standouts are MRI's "Painkiller" and Luomo's "Melt"). Whether or not you like the more accessible direction Mille Plateaux chose to move the Clicks & Cuts series slowly toward, the result is clearly as remarkable as before -- even more so if you prefer melody and rhythm to ambience and experimentation.

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