Various Artists – phloq – compilation twelve 2xLP phloq 2013
Sometimes it is good to check out totally unknown music scenes and associated projects as it means there are no pre-conceived notations of what to expect. This release fits the bill suitably as I have not previously come across the relatively young ‘phloq’ label (launched in 2012), nor any of the featured artists. Whilst ‘phloq – compilation twelve’ is obviously a compilation release from this Danish label, I am unsure whether it is representative of a particular Danish experimental/ ambient scene (…or even if all contributing artists are Danish for that matter). Nevertheless single tracks are presented by ten projects/ artists, which are spread across four sides of vinyl.
Regarding the scope of acts and sounds presented, overall I would say the general focus of the label and contributing artists sits in the same tonal sphere as Touch Music, i.e. ambient, isolationist and experimental music which edges towards art / culture / academic fields. Obviously this is considered comparison and a compliment to the quality of the material found herein. In order to not to exclude any contributing artists here goes with a quick snapshot review for each:
- Dot: bleak yet animated isolationist ambience which evoke visions of desolate widescreen vistas.
- Isaktelefon: moody cinematic atmospheres generated through slow droning elements and layered sound textures.
- Flip Ja: abstract experimental sounds with microtonal detailing.
- Maulex: multi-layered abstract droning sounds with an liquidous sound quality.
- Phaedrus: droning slightly melodious ambient soundscapes edging towards a minimalist tangent.
- Malcolm Mahiti: muffled and heavy bass loaded isolationist ambience, with occasional injections of microtonal static.
- Krishve: abstract low grinding drone textures, infuse with a positive dose of timbral clips, pops etc.
- Mads Engell: abstract and experimental digital cut ups, with textural sound elements extending from low key to sharp and loud.
- Alex Morch: experimental/ contemporary classical consisting of looped conveyor belt type factory clatter, overlaid with layered melancholic cello.
- Jannick Schou: another experimental/ contemporary classical track consisting of minimalist angular orchestral strings and droning undercurrent, to create an intense cinematic atmosphere.
To my ear the standout tracks are from Dot, Isaktelefon, Malcolm Mahiti and Jannick Schou, but that said there are no poor or lacking contributions either, which says volumes for the high quality of the contributed material. Likewise due to the general ‘soundscape’ and ‘ambient’ nature of the compositions, they hang together positively as a coherent collection of tracks. Packaging consists of gatefold cover where the static infused abstract graphic art grades from white through to various shades of grey to black, which is a suitable visual representation for the abstract sound found within.