Various Artists

Saturday Morning Empires

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Saturday Morning Empires is the Montreal electronica label intr_version's second compilation album, three years after With Naive Assurance..., released shortly after its inception. So this effort presents a more mature label, maybe a bit too sharply focused on a single esthetic (dreamy IDM), although this single-mindedness results in a cohesive, pleasurable compilation album. The 12 tracks are all exclusive to this CD and were contributed by a solid cast of Canadian and international artists who have previously released material on the label, are set to do so in the near future, or are simply sympathizers and friends of intr_version. Over half of the tracks consist of slow beats with dreamy, melancholy guitars and light touches of noise -- followers of Fennesz's Endless Summer album. The pieces standing out are those going down a different path: "Goojeratensis Version," a chilly glitch-dub typical of Tomas Jirku; "Enima," a noisy drone from Tim Hecker; and one of the best pieces to date from the Vancouver-based post-rock outfit Beans (the same group that has released albums on the Zum label, not to be confused with the hip-hop act by the same name). Polmo Polpo's "Dreaming (Is Real)" and vitaminsforyou's "Luxury and Hope" also provide excellent moments. The latter is a beautiful song that outgrows the electronica box and has serious crossover hit potential. Saturday Morning Empires has two merits. First, it provides a gentle, smooth listen, something uncommon for a compilation album. Second, it gives you a very clear idea of what the label is all about and if it is for you or not. And such commanding clarity is certainly worth a recommendation.

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