Sliding Perspective Projectors
he visceral thrill of hearing a great song on an album, surrounded by material that doesn’t quite reach up to the same potential, is one that is being transformed slowly into one that doesn’t have to be. The artificial high concocted with the beginning of mix tapes and, now, with IPods, renders the idea of an album, in fact, arcane. Why bother slogging through the mess of highs and lows when you can sustain a huge multi-dimensional rush of quality, never giving into filler? That’s the idea behind the recent spate, one would venture to guess, of mixes made by talented artists (Ladytron’s Softcore Jukebox and the Back to Mine DJ series spring immediately to mind) that eschew beatmatching for, plain and simply, great songs.
Enter, then, this compilation made by the people behind a “hi-fi radio show made up of criminally unknown artists of recent years”. The main difference between this and the mixes mentioned above, though, is the fact that PK, the mysterious producer of this disc, has chosen to mix the results, albeit lightly, into one another, providing bridges between tracks and a stable atmosphere for the proceedings.
The mix begins with Laika’s “Spooky Rhodes”, found on her Sound of the Satellites album from 1997. It begins the mix slowly, merging a rolling underwater-driven rhythm with languid rotating synths and Laika’s minimal, yet evocative lyrics. It sets a haunting tone, which is followed up by two short interlude pieces that eventually connect to Maata Haari’s stunning “Cosmopolitan”. This track could be best described as approaching Trip-Hop, but that would probably be a disservice. This is the type of track that second-tier groups like Hooverphonic and Morcheeba could only dream about.
From there, the chill-out sounds continue, with highlights like the lite Jungle of “Porn” from Slowpho, the fuzzed dream-folk of Antenne’s “Dead Dreams” and the anti-folk piano piece, “Carousel”, performed by Alice Rose which is replete with tape hum and off-key singing.
There are some unfortunate picks here, however, that spoil the mood or even throw the compilation into a territory that is more reminiscent of contrived compilations sold at Pottery Barn than the chilled coolness that it’s obviously striving towards. The goth tendencies of Ivory’s “Peacock” are strange and disturbing, but not in a way that makes repeated listening worthwhile and Voxisnst’s “Give Yourself” seems a bit too busy for its own good. And perhaps the less said about the epic quality of Anti Atlas’ “Lifelong Friend” the better. Let’s just say that it doesn’t exactly benefit from a saxophone that reminds of Kenny G.
Overall, despite the lapses into the type of chilled, ethereal music that is anthaema to a large portion of music fans still bemoaning the failures of the Trip-Hop genre to rise above its strictures, Radiovista.ca’s Sliding Perspective Projectors serves as a quality introduction to the radio station’s aesthetic taste and its ability to filter through some of the genre’s worst so that we don’t have to do so ourselves. And, with the help of your handy IPod or MP3 player, you won’t have to sit through the disappointments on this disc either.