Fuzzy Boombox, Vol. 1

Various Artists

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Fuzzy Boombox, Vol. 1 Review

by Ned Raggett

Drawing on a variety of artists who have released material on the Fuzzy Box label, as well as a slew of associated dance and indie labels, Fuzzy Boombox, Vol. 1 is an enjoyable and inexpensive sampling of 17 different artists. The cutting edge of techno isn't on display here; rather it's the low-key, often quite enjoyable underground represented by the likes of Morr Music and bands like Flowchart (whose Erin Anderson appears here as Fidget with the Muslimgauze-reminiscent found-sound sample collage "Spring Like"), taking the tools of the genre for their own particular ends. Polite but effective nods to everything from dub to hard house and IDM determine the pace and tone of Fuzzy Boombox, suggesting either a good home party or a chill-out room rather than the center of rave madness. Tracks like Mondii's "FPF," with its blend of computer-treated distortion and winsome melodies and Dalglish's "TtFtFr," consisting of bursts of static carefully arranged over odd rhythms, clearly suggest the influence that Aphex Twin and the Warp label have had over the years, more than once to a fault, admittedly. Montage Spiral sets a fine tone, thanks to "Road Rage," using a snippet from the all-time greatest holiday film ever, A Christmas Story, as the base of a downtempo but still busy enough bit of lounge techno, and from there the compilation steers its own course. Another enjoyable sample hint turns up in what appears to be a few noises from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio show on the polite glitch lope of "Vausu" by Handheld Soundsystem. Meanwhile, Tony Rohr nods to the hackers in the crowd with the title of "3l337 East," a restrained (even for this compilation) number with many subtle touches beneath the lead synth tones.

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