Various Artists

Hotel Stadt Berlin

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Assembled with loving care by the trusty German manufacturers at Handle With Care, Hotel Stadt Berlin showcases six very young and very different electronic labels from Berlin (A.D.S.R., City Centre Offices, Din, Hey Rec, Lux Nigra, and Morr Music), offering each of them 12 minutes to show off their goods on this sampler. The output from these labels ranges from complex, brainy IDM to melodic nu synth pop. This doesn't exactly offer the best material from each respective label, but these tracks are far from barrel-scrapings. The biggest names involved include Skanfrom (warm synth-based pop; the Kiddie. to Adult.'s detached shiver), Arovane (glitchy experimentation), Herrmann und Kleine (densely layered and wispy shoegaze-influenced electronica), and Isan (lovely microcosmic ambient with an emphasis on the cosmic part), and each of them serves up material that is neither jaw-dropping spectacular nor dismissable. As a result, Hotel Stadt Berlin works for two types of listeners: those who are completists and those who want to wet their feet a little. Both should be rather pleased by what they hear. (Liner notes are contributed by two of the fine folks from Manchester, England's Pelicanneck shop, one of the labels' biggest supporters. Handy label dicographies are provided as well.)

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