Various Artists


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This two-disc set is one of those compilations that will likely take you by surprise, or maybe disappoint just a bit on first listen and then grow on you. Its title is not meant ironically. What the Boxer Recordings crew has gathered is a generous program of tracks that not only tend to depart from the mainstream of beat-based electronica, but also, in several significant cases, to represent departures by the artists from their own usual mode of work. On "Day to Day" Pig & Dan collaborate with Dean Demanuele to create a charmingly off-kilter, almost goofy piece of electro-pop whimsy; Extrawelt creates tiny, pointillistic funk on "Yummy," and Kreidler makes "jungle" music in the programmatic sense: "Venusia" sounds like a field recording in a rain forest. But it's not all fun and games. Patrick Chardronnet's "Seeing in the Dark" is darkly funky and makes effective use of exceptionally creepy vocal samples, while the enervated falsetto vocals and fingerpopping groove of Popof's "H2O" suggests a certain emotional distance that sets it apart from the rest of the collection. Khan & Mahmoud's "Mystery Blues" sounds a bit like an outtake from a Congotronics album. There are less distinctive but equally effective moments (like the gently dubbed-up and quite pretty "Rimba Solo" by Paul Nazca) and a few downright lightweight entries (notably Stephan Hinz's forgettable "Dry Toast & Half a Grapefruit") but none are unpleasant and most are impressive enough to make this nicely priced collection highly recommendable to all adventurous electronica fans.

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