Projekt 200

Various Artists

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Projekt 200 Review

by Ned Raggett

The Projekt label has created a series of celebratory releases over time as Sam Rosenthal's initial tape-only effort for his home recordings turned into an underground goth cult and then practically into its own genre of romantic and contemplative music with Rosenthal's design sense driving the overall artwork and approach. Projekt 200, the latest such overview, is perhaps the most elaborate all around, a three-disc effort in a DVD-sized package with a fairly unusual setup inside to hold the discs. It's a nice example of allegiance to a format rapidly slipping away to a purely digital approach, but of course the key is the music inside. The first two discs are split between "the early years" and "the current era," admittedly with an exception or two -- a newly remixed version of "Across a Thousand Blades" by Rosenthal and Projekt's flagship act Black Tape for a Blue Girl starts off the whole thing, while Lowsunday's "For a Moment" on the "current era" disc is over a decade old. The occasional oddity like this aside, the discs are an excellent introduction to the more overtly rock/industrial side of Projekt, with now legendary names like Lycia, Love Spirals Downwards, and Voltaire taking bows alongside equally notable acts as Arcanta, Lovesliescrushing, Unto Ashes, and Android Lust. A few previously unreleased songs surface, including new ones from Lovespirals ("Empty Universe," a gentle, acoustic guitar-led number), Tearwave ("Comfort in Angel's Wings," a peppy example of gothed-up shoegaze), and Black Tape. The final disc focuses on the ambient/electronic side of the label -- unsurprisingly Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana are featured, the latter with a wholly new track, "Breath of Closure," while other unreleased songs from Alio Die and Fear Falls Burning also appear.

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