This is the first compilation from Tonedeaf and demonstrates what a varied and adventurous roster they have in one neat little package. The folder that the album is enclosed in comes with the band info on a notebook-like affair and a pencil that will stand out in the crowd if nothing else!
The sometimes eclectic music to be found here shows that Tonedeaf is not content to be just another EBM/future pop label as many of the contributing artists display an adventurous spirit, providing music that is not easily pigeonholed. For example Quiet Eye's "Destruction" mixes ambient electronica with industrial motifs whist maintaining a generally chilled-out feel while KBN's "Take Them Now" also inhabits essentially similar realms, a bit like Air but much more innovative and without the catchy melodies. FPOSF are another band who add that innovative edge to what would otherwise be pleasant, easy on the ear electronica and this seems to be an important part of the label's remit, as proven by i2i who do very much the same with "Midnight" in unison with Felicia Adams' seductive Lisa Stansfield-like vocals (that's not meant insultingly, by the way!). Phase Collective and Perpetual Joy both offer accoustic/electronic tracks with a dose of trip hop in the case of the former and an uplifting melodic chorus in the case of the latter.
If all this sounds a bit laid back and you want some hard hitting EBM then "Paralax On" from Phenotract and Tech 9's "Static Age" should fit the bill nicely as should Cue's melodic electro stomp "Ready For War" where the cheerfully upbeat melodies totally contradict the ominous sounding title or Morgen Particle's synthpop/electronica hybrid "Ephemeral Mist". Endymion seem to be headed in this direction, too but their "Sightless" is a multi-layered complex track that might not make for a dancefloor classic but the atmosphere and feeling of this track shows a band with a lot of promise. Cesium 137's latest remix of their hit "Regrets" doesn't really do them justice as the additional rhythms seem almost tacked on as an afterthought just for the sake of squeezing another remix out of such a well-liked track, best stick with the original to hear this fine band at their best. Power/noise fans should delight in Fuzz's "Lay Low" where the vocals provide the only respite from the mighty maelstrom of sound.
As with any compilation this review can only offer a general overview of the tracks herein but suffice to say that Tonedeaf has proven itself to be an innovative label that is not prepared to take the easy way out. Whilst none of the music could be considered overly experimental there is always an underlying sense of adventure that keeps the music fresh and alive. One for the listener who doesn't mind a surprise or two, I think!!
Artist Link: http://www.tonedeafrecords.com