Various Artists

Electric Ladyland: Clickhop Version 1.0

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After releasing a half-dozen albums in its long-running Electric Ladyland series of compilations, Force Inc. put the series on hold for a few years. Whatever novel elements the series had offered had become somewhat exhausted after a half-dozen double-disc compilations released annually. However, in the wake of its success with the Clicks + Cuts series of compilations, Force Inc. revived the Electric Ladyland series with a new twist, hence this album's title, Electric Ladyland: Clickhop Version 1.0. The German label wants to make this compilation seem like less of a continuation of the late-'90s series of Electric Ladyland series and more of a new direction. And to a certain extent, it is a new direction. The Force Inc. roster underwent an overhaul in the early 2000s, moving away from traditional techno and embracing the new generation of laptop-armed glitch producers: Vladislav Delay, Kid 606, MRI, Carsten Nicolai, and Frank Bretschneider being at the top of the class. However, rather than just accept this compilation as a collection of glitchy laptop techno, it's important to note the "clickhop" reference in the title -- this tag informs some of the music on this double-disc collection. Is clickhop the next in a long line of hip-hop-inflected styles such as trip-hop and hip-house? Probably not. And hopefully not. But that's another issue. It's perhaps most important to note that the "clickhop" tag is mostly ornament. Granted, there are a few hip-hoppy glitch (rather than glitchy hip-hop -- note the difference) tracks here, which also happen to be some of the compilation's highlights: AGF/DLAY's "The Return of Us," Graphit.E's "Five-n-West," Beige's "Runkerübe Blau," and DSP's "Step Back." But, for the most part, the remainder, and therefore majority, of the compilation has little to do with hip-hop -- at least overtly. It's best to view Electric Ladyland: Clickhop Version 1.0 as a companion to the excellent Clicks + Cuts series. While that series explores the more sedate and avant-garde elements of laptop techno, this album showcases the livlier and more traditional side of the style. And when you approach it with this expectation rather than expecting to hear a more literal interpretation of "clickhop," you shouldn't be disappointed. The best laptop producers in the world circa 2001 are here, and what they offer aren't outtakes and throwaways but rather some of their best and most daring work.

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