Friends We Met Along The Way :: V/A (Cactus Island, CD)

Almost a year after the birth of Cactus Island’s wonderful split 7inch that featured the labels’ two proud parents, Maps & Diagrams vs. Broca (Tim Martin and Steve Davis), these two Brit’s have yet another sampler of sorts for the electronic music consumer to digest. It’s the Friends We Met Along The Way CD compilation; a disc that yields softly focused electronics from start to end.

Based in the UK, yet nurturing beats from across the globe, Cactus Island Recordings’ latest offering is a delicate blend of pleasant and unassuming rhythms that sweep you away easily. From the drenching ambient flow of Commander’s “Slumber” to Bovine Life’s watery drone on “Gneiss,” Friends We Met Along The Way is a mixture of genuine electronic craftiness with subtle digital spurts rounding off the edges.

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Australia’s Tim Koch offers up a squelchy video-game influenced instrumental track called “Seven Ate Nine,” while Expanding Recording artist Stendec delivers an emotionally packed “Aileron.” Following Stendec is Steve Davis operating under the Broca moniker. On “Koowbwai,” Broca plunges deep into a high-pitched analog based melody that cascades around a repetitively energetic beat very much in a Detroit style. Apparat and Maps & Diagrams follow a parallel path where snappy percussion blends with cracking rhythms. It’s when Broca and Maps & Diagrams collide to form their Sovacusa moniker that the beauty in the art is revealed; On “116,” Sovacusa blends a cool array of acrobatic beats and atmospheric melody bytes for an all encompassing smooth feel. Vain Foam’s “Autumn Rain Passing” is just that; a developing track of ambience and funky percussion that marks a highlight on this 17-track disc. Frank Murder, Helios and Iodil represent this compilations downbeat laden grooves, where delicate melodies fall out of the sky and land on a sea of tranquil beats. Neo Ouija recording artist Verbose offers up two exquisite pieces, both “Watchingyouglow” and the remixed by Xela track, “Alloneword.” On these two pieces, Verbose and Xela display their passion for the experimental while gently releasing their melodic outbursts of sincerity. Skurken’s hypnotic beats on “Bjormella” are sure to lift you into space while the undercurrent of tweaks relaxes your brain cells. A similar effect is present on Chico Rockstar’s “Codebloated” where mechanical beats transform themselves with the aid of a reversed and haunting loop. Phasmid’s “Eating Ghosts” has a certain Plaid’like feel to it with its funky melody line and otherworldly atmospherics.

It’s all here for you, waiting to be heard.

If the above text doesn’t explain the fact that Friends We Met Along The Way is a precious gem of relaxed tweaks and upbeat treats, then perhaps you need to find this disc for the full audio experience. Cactus Island will surely appeal to fans of Expanding, Toytronic and Neo Ouija. Without veering to far into abstract territory, Cactus Island’s latest release is a calm, well natured nugget of electronic music.

For Geographic Purposes :: Commander, Skurken, Frank Murder and Chico Rockstar are based in Iceland. Apparat and Vain Foam reside in Germany. Iodil, Helios and Phasmid are US based producers. Xela, Verbose, Broca, Stendec, Sovacusa, Maps & Diagrams, and Bovine Life are from the United Kingdom and the lone Australian on this compilation is none other than Tim Koch.

  • Cactus Island Recordings

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