Various Artists

Strewth!: An Abstract Electronic Compilation From Australia & New Zealand

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Released in mid-2002, this compilation CD makes an attempt at presenting the wide scope of experiments in abstract electronica in Australia and New Zealand. Some of the 15 represented artists have been active for a while (Philip Samartzis, Rosy Parlane), others are fresh faces (Delire, Cray), while a few are fixtures of the music underground, but have turned to the computer only recently (Candlesnuffer [aka David Brown], Oren Ambarchi). Strewth!: An Abstract Electronic Compilation From Australia & New Zealand takes listeners everywhere from microsound to digital noise, but the style that dominates is dynamic experimental electronica pieces that lay in the middle of these extremes. The best moments are supplied by Candlesnuffer, Samartzis (abstract but compelling), Cray's ghostly voice experiment, and Netochka Nezvanova's "Poztgenom!knuklearporekomplekz," the closest we get to academic electro-acoustics. The strangest and most fascinating pieces come from Dion Workman and Rosy Parlane of the Sigma Edition label -- Workman's mini-disc feedback piece beats Sachiko M to the finish line. One could always argue about the absence of this or that name in the track list, but the fact is that most of the major artists are represented and the CD as a whole makes for a coherent listen. The Australian scene struggles to rival the Austrian-German contingent of artists for media attention and festival showcases. This compilation illustrates with conviction its quality and cutting-edge significance.

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