Various Artists

Volume 8

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The best thing about the Volume CD compilations is the accompanying small, 192-page magazine that includes thoughtful interviews with each artist on the CD. Installment eight is one of the rare weak ones, due to an abundance of techno/dance-beat oriented "bands." The unique, spacy sound of some, such as Autechre, is interesting background music, very creative. But that's all it is. The sugar here is a new, unreleased track by Curve, "Low and Behold," which is also aurally fascinating, only with Toni Halliday's icy pop smarts over top. Also terrific is Elastica's caterwauling, Breeders-esque "S.O.F.T." And a new Fall whack-track (ol' man Smith, he just keeps rollin'), "War," is welcome. Decent if non-essential are remixes of James' "Skin Diving 1-3-4," Butthole Surfers' "Who Was in My Room Last Night?," and Wonder Stuff's (disco/dub) "Swell." Come's "City of Fun" is OK. Again, the main attraction is the journalism; it's always first-rate and it's a hell of a nice (colorful, sharp) package. But the CD this time is boring. Also appearing: Underworld, B12, Higher Intelligence Agency, Juno Reactor, Global Communication, Sun Electric, the Afghan Whigs, Submarine, and Sultans of Ping F.C.

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