V/A :: Emerging Organisms 4 (Tympanik Audio)

Emerging Organisms Vol 4 breaks the boundaries of previous entries in the series, reflecting both the increased diversity of the label’s output and the compounding production polish and compositional complexity that the contributing artists gain with each new release.

V/A

[Release page] Another year, another array of emerging organisms appear on Tympanik Audio‘s annual compilation series. It’s year four and by now you might think you know exactly what to expect from these expansive, double compact disc sets: a typical mix of Tympanik Audio veterans and new faces together with a host of artists from like-minded labels Ant-Zen/Hymen, n5MD, Ad Noiseam and M-Tronic. But you’d be wrong, because Emerging Organisms Vol 4 breaks the boundaries of previous entries in the series, reflecting both the increased diversity of the label’s output and the compounding production polish and compositional complexity that the contributing artists gain with each new release.

There are plenty of surprises along the way and the very first comes on disc one, track one. Instead of a killer beats-laden intro, we get the brooding, fog-shrouded dark ambient of Hecq’s “Ritual Study,” a dread-fuelled antediluvian pause before a thundering white-out. Scary stuff. From then on we are treated to the full gamut of Tympanik Audio’s evolved sonic landscape. There are cinematic thrillers: Architect’s alien invasion in “Episode 7 (Tympanik Edit)” blasts dramatic horns and gunfire, Diaphane’s “Insight” – one of the soaring highlights amongst this collection – all gunning beat-work and drum and bass tinged battles against a tense melody that is barely prised out of the speakers. There are stomping, distorted cutups like Access to Arasaka’s “Razorgirl,” an archetypal blend of computer blips and serrated, fuzzy beats and bass, and a typically solid entry from n5MD label owner Mike Cadoo’s Dryft, all walls of smashed percussion and shimmering sand-drifts.

There are hard-edged, glitchy, industrial IDM numbers; take To Travel Without Any Certain Destination’s “Night After The Carnival (Libido Formandi Rmx)” or the crinkle, clunk and snap of DJ Sajko’s remix of C.H. District’s “Con-Trust,” by way of example. Or there are coolly ambient works infused with glitch and squelch, such as the ghostly pads, bouncing ball percussion and twinkling lights of Occoer’s “Ephemeral Beauty.” Then there’s Erode’s stellar “Disengage,” the closing number both of disc one of EO4 and his stunning debut album for TA, Horizon – a signature track on what is frankly a flagship release for Tympanik Audio – Erode deftly builds up Dryft-like walls of sound over seven minutes, beginning with surging bass notes and synth-strings, then adding distorted buzz and blur agonisingly slowly, only releasing the full force of the piece with full blown, Bola Soup intensity at the very last minute, leaving behind a longing for more.

It is probably the second disc that contributes most to the diversity, however. Subheim’s ambitious “Mir50” throws in everything but the kitchen sink, beginning with distant sirens amongst smoky ambience then adding ethnic cylindrical percussion, rustic acoustic guitar, synth-brass and all manner of warbling effects and sci-fi tones, all within a magnificent, tightly edited five minutes. Miroslav’s “Terminal” features sludgy electric guitars, hiccuping and stuttering vocals, beats and delicate twangs of acoustic instrumentation. Keef Baker provides some high-speed mayhem with “Cranesong” that is surprisingly warm and emotive, Tapage’s “Last” sticks out, with its squeaky blips and chirps, ultra-crispy percussion and minimalist sound palette whilst KiloWatt’s glittering “Transmogrifier” showers the sound stage with colourful, echoing digital fireworks. Matta provides a few moments of soft, cushioned dubstep with the requisite vocal samples, spacious pads and bass tones before the disc goes into shoegaze mode with a strong entry from port-royal and some post-rock from SE.

The one problem with EO4 is its rather lackluster ending, the album beginning to flag right after the delicate chiming of Flaque’s “Meridien” and C.Db.Sn’s “Snowday” with its cutup vocals reminiscent of Orbital’s “Halcyon.” The entries from Northcape and Anklebiter are some of the least challenging on the compilation, and although the release closes with a surprise offering from Bola, it is a “live” mix of a work with a distinct identity crisis. With a running time of one hundred and forty minutes, it must be hard to keep the momentum going and with “Szeaafar (live)” – a track more Jello than Bola – instead of ending on a high note the release rather limply peters out.

This one flaw aside, EO4 is another statement piece for Tympanik Audio and an excursion into the many facets of their ever widening remit that will undoubtedly delight an eclectic audience.

Emerging Organisms 4 is out now on Tympanik Audio. [Release page]

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