A myriad of far reaching sounds from the atmospheric to the grimy, Opal Tapes’ latest compilation ‘New Labour’ is an indiscriminate smorgasbord that covers all the bases. With productions from the likes of Clouds, J. Albert, Shelley Parker and Russell E. L. Butler, this compilation is a brilliant reflection of Opal Tapes’ eclectic music policy.
The first half of the EP is considerably hazy, with the ethereal taking over and a sense of quiet appeasement settling in. ‘Catch’ by Shelley Parker is the unyielding opener, with airy synths floating around an uneven beat; it’s a track that sways between the conscious and unconscious. When that subterranean bass kicks in, it becomes a fully body experience that’s sure to move you in more than one way. This however, is mightily disrupted by Clouds’ introduction to the play with the earth scorching ‘Teeth Marks On A Pallet’ which brings you firmly back to reality.
‘Bogano’ by Pris has an air of FJAAK, heavy and compelling rhythms fused with smooth chord progressions and slick productions, it not only sounds good but also has the substance to back it up. Special recognition goes out to Anxiety Support Group’s track ‘Drug Dealer’s Lullaby’, which is one of the best titles we’ve heard this year.
‘Consequencias’ from Ñaka Ñaka sounds like if Thom Yorke went one step further and made outright Techno. Warm but distant, its reverberated design and minor scale make it a very howling piece. Butler’s ‘Shaper’ sounds like Martian dancehall, with its bouncy beat and alien synths, it descends into total weirdness, managing to stand out from even such a selection of unique tracks.
Closing track ‘Been This Way’ is J. Albert’s most adventurous to date. Extending over 15 minutes, it explores an ever-changing environment that is equally as unflinching as it is evocative. The atmosphere he manages to create is outstanding, as he builds on minute details that become large and encompassing aspects of the track. An epic conclusion to an enthralling compilation, it’s a very fitting send-off.
2015 looks like the year for compilations, and New Labour is further proof of this. Opal Tapes have done brilliantly to recruit such a diverse grouping of artists, refusing to be pigeonholed each track transcends expectations over and over again. Continuously inventive and explorative, this is another great addition to the ever-expanding world of Techno, one that is restless and unsteady but in a state of transformation that is becoming increasingly exciting.