Section 27 ~ Sectioned v4.0

Section 27 - -S27-127- Sectioned v4.0 - S27-127 WallpaperWhy would one take the time to listen to a 101-track, eight hour compilation?  That’s easy ~ if one likes the type of music, is eager to hear more, and is open to the discovery of new artists, one will find a way.  In this case, the genre of music is the underserved arena of techno-industrial IDM, covered here in previous years through the albums of artists such as Nonima and Dissolved, each of whom appears here.  But there’s much more where that came from, ranging from 80s throwback techno to modern-era beats.  At times, one imagines fractals projected on a wall; the old world is not so far away.

Front Line Assembly is the clear godparent to the music here, as it was a parent to so many offshoots, from Will to Intermix to Delerium and beyond.  The best tracks on Sectioned v4.0 take the lessons learned to the next level.  But as a compilation, the nearest associate is probably the Dream Injections series, that made no distinction between Autechre and haujobb, but invited them to share the same glass stage.  Each of those double discs contained a mixture of fan favorites and new discoveries, and this new set acts in the same way: any dark ambient or creative-beat artist is invited to join.

In a moment, we’ll take a look at some of the tracks and see why they stand out.  But first, a word of warning.  Every month, when I read Jeremy’s Electronic Observations column, I am impressed by two things: 1) the wealth of instrumental electronic music on the market, and 2) the amount to which our electronic preferences differ.  I write this because with this amount of music, it is likely that readers may prefer a completely different set of tracks than the ones I have highlighted.  The point of this review is simply to lead our readers to the compilation in hopes they will press Play.

The drum programming on Afrikence’s “Baraka to the Moon” makes it an early pick, with stuttering percussion reminiscent of The Latin Rascals. Immediately after follows AL5510’s “The Future Never Happened”, a cold beat excursion in which the beeps are offset by synthetic washes and a thoughtful piano.  And look, there’s Bunai Caras, whose latest work was just reviewed by Jeremy ~ and soon after, Dissolved, whose work I’ve reviewed!  There’s something for everyone.  Dunaewsky’s “Your Dearest Wish Will Come True” grows from a drone to a drum work, while Jukka-Pekka Kervenin’s “Binary Vacuum” saws and groans for 1:29 and ends well before its time.

Normally, one might write about the flow of an album ~ how in a longer work such as this, the ambient drone tracks led to harder-edged pieces, and so forth.  But as observant readers have already noticed, the artists are presented in alphabetical order.  The second half of the presentation offers the same sort of variety as the first, from drum machines to drillcore.  The highlights include Seesound’s percussive “Icepick” and the melodic, melancholic closer, Z-Arc’s “Kerberos”.

Clearly, not every track works.  Some fall into the traps that doomed the genre to underachiever status: an over-reliance on repetition, a refusal to drop drum ‘n’ bass elements beyond their sell-by dates, an uncomfortable incorporation of rave and happy house.  But the overall impression is that the “darker mutant sounds” still deserve a place at the table.  A happy 5-year anniversary to Section 27, and we wish you many more!  (Richard Allen)

Available here

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