V/A :: Oxycanta III (Ultimae)

Winter is ahead, and the twelve tracks on Oxycanta III will go well with the cold gray days. The most narrative-driven and crystallized chapter of the three. An opiate and a stimulator at the same time.

I’m not the biggest fan of various artists compilations, but I do enjoy a well-concocted one occasionally, and the creative minds over at Ultimae certainly know how to concoct an attractive compilation. Oxycanta III is the latest chapter in Mahiane‘s series of ambient and atmospheric electronica compilations, Oxycanta. Like its predecessors it features new tracks by some of the label’s regulars, and also introduces new music from artists who never released on the label before. This compilation couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Winter is ahead, and the twelve tracks on Oxycanta III will go well with the cold gray days. The most narrative-driven and crystallized chapter of the three. An opiate and a stimulator at the same time.

New blood and different sides. The opener, “Drone Flower,” shows a different side of Miktek, a softer, more caressing side, but not less effective. The track sets the mood and draws the listener into the story delicately and seductively. Mer-a, an artist from Ukraine that grabbed Mahiane’s attention with a demo he had sent, is featured twice on the compilation. His tracks, “Aeolis Mons” and “Quasi Stellar” are two highly evocative and atmospheric gems. “Quasi Stellar” is a strong finish for the journey, with some sound designs done à la Bvdub.

Further exploration and a change of movement. With “Onyx,” AES Dana continues his exploration of the far-flung musical spectrum, and with his mind-spiraling sound design and a unique dub techno touch shows how fresh and provocative electronic music can be in 2013 if done creatively. One of the leading forces of Germany-based imprint BineMusic, Lars Leonhard, contributed a little piquant audio output. It is slightly more restrained in movement and color than the surging, bright tracks on his latest full length effort from earlier this year: Seasons – Les Quatre Saisons. I guess it was done this way in order to fit the story, and indeed it fits like a glove.

New moniker and a welcomed return. Modern sound designer Jason Corder (aka Offthesky) presents a new track here under a new moniker: Muridae. With its dynamic weave of engaging, mystic downtempo electronica, “Turning Down” demonstrates Corder’s versatility. Scann-Tec, a regular on Ultimae compilations, makes a very welcomed return with “Phaeton Remains,” a new track that unveils a new direction for the Russian producer. A more subtle, sophisticated and emotionally open direction. Lush, IDM-ish, spacey downtempo electronica.

Nordic vibes and dreamy sounds. Like fine wine, the music of Norwegian due, Circular, gets better with time. These guys’ sound has become richer and more dynamic. “Complex A” is filled with sizzling and gleaming textures. An atmospherically charged piece of Nordic electronica. French dub techno, tech house, electronica specialist, Fingers In The Noise, another representative of BineMusic, provided a dreamy, spacey track; a heartwarming, chiming piece.

Electro-acoustic frequencies and ghostly shadows. I Awake, who is responsible for one of my favorite Ultimae albums, The Core, makes a double appearance here with “Morning Drops – Part 1” and “Morning Drops – Part 2.” Both feature Björn Berglund on piano. These are two short and strange electro-acoustic outputs with a slightly creepy vibe. Taken from his album Lithea, 36’s “Seance” is a shadowy track that justifies its title with a mysterious haunting ambience.

Oxycanta III presents an eclectic collection of tracks that together assemble a cohesive and fluid whole. Mahiane worked a long time on this project, and as always, a lot of love and careful thought were invested. The outcome is quite interesting from start to finish. With all that being said, I do believe that some tracks here could have benefit from further polishing during the mastering process. Surely that would have made Oxycanta III even more pleasurable.

Oxycanta III is available on Ultimae.

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