Various Artists

MD2

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AllMusic Review by

Mike Cadoo, half of the industrial-turned-IDM act Gridlock, has created another forum to explore his musical musings with the creation of the innovative mini-disc label n5md. While the discography is small, MD2 helps build the reputation that n5md releases are worth watching out for. MD2 is an unlikely and select collection of rare tracks from a diverse and talented range of artists. The featured artists may not be the most prevalent names in the IDM genre, but each contribution to MD2 sports a strikingly fresh sound, both in terms of overall feel and in the crafting of each individual synthesised voice. In fact, sound design may well have been on the key selection criteria to be included on MD2. Cenik's opening track is a dramatic entrance for the compilation, as melodic disjointed piano is underscored with a viciously crafted machine sounds. This is not the only track in which the design of sound plays a key role -- Tim Koch's contribution begins with a thin analogue whine, which collapses into an all-compasing bassline that embarces a delicate melody and rattling percussion. Also, the different ground that MD2 covers prevents it from being just another obscure IDM compilation. "Nurture" may seem familiar in its construction, but the combination of warm organic sounds is offset by harsher electronic treatments. Jvox's "Cadona" (which sounds like an arrangement of grandfather clock samples) borders on avant-garde. Somewhere in the middle, Proem's "Laid Back Off" blends a slow varied repitition with more known cut-up rhythms to create a haunting texture. Where the success of most compilations seems to ride on how well they can capture the essential works of seminal artists of a genre, MD2's strength is the very opposite of this. Every track provides an unexpected texture, a distinct quality, or a new type of hook, offered by artists drilling into new areas. MD2 will not disappoint, and itself is a strong justification for acquiring the MD player you always wanted.