Various Artists

Tempo Technik Teamwork

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A combination of new and previously released tracks, Tempo Technik Teamwork serves as a showcase for the increasingly ambitious Staubgold label and its often excellent roster. Though originally more focused on electronic/IDM approaches, Staubgold's shift encompasses everything from modern laptop shoegaze and installation music to calm piano balladry and delicate, dark singer/songwriter efforts. If not everything is flat-out spectacular on Tempo Technik Teamwork, the winners surface much more often than not. It doesn't hurt that the compilation starts with a stone-cold winner in an edit of "Now Right Here" by Minit -- a beautiful combination of Spectrum-styled drone haze and a simple but exultant bassline, it's proof that bliss-out is by no means dead and buried. Many of the choices succeed in passing a key test for a compilation -- exciting interest in wanting to hear more. Thus there's Mapstation's minimal, strong backing for Ras Donovan's toasting on "Be True," Sun's folky, warm electronic fog "Help Yourself" (very reminiscent of the underrated Bristol band Light), the Faust versus Dälek hip-hop/dark drone remix "T-Electronique" -- and that's just the first disc. The second disc, which has more of a focus on the Quecksilber sublabel's murkier experimentalism, has its own core standouts, including Paul Wirkus' microglitch murmur "Blask," Michael Schumacher's minimal-beyond-description "Room Piece," and AGF's stop-start collage "Burning Frequencies." A low-key winner comes with the inspired collaboration of label standby Ekkehard Ehlers with the brilliant John Frusciante, whose non-Red Hot Chili Peppers work is a model of solo inventiveness in a variety of styles. Their "Grisaisse 1" is an unsettled mix of acoustic guitar picking and a dank swirl of background textures and keening noises. Ehlers collaborates with two others, Joseph Suchy and Franz Hautzinger, to conclude the compilation with "Soundchambers 1," a gentle if still mysterious ambient composition.

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