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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Electronic sampler boldly goes where no music has gone before

    Electronic sampler boldly goes where no music has gone before

    Think electronic music begins and ends with candy kids and that late ’90s Darude “”Sandstorm”” song? Think again. English DJ and music journalist Mary Anne Hobbs is committed to changing your mind with Wild Angels, her handpicked selection of the latest in recent electronic music.

    Hobbs is no stranger to music: she scored her first music journalism gig in the ’80s when she was only 19. She has since made a name for herself as the BBC Radio 1 personality who introduced dubstep — a largely instrumental form of electronica that draws on London garage and drum and bass — to the world with her 2006 compilation The Warrior Dubz.

    Earlier this month, Hobbs dropped Wild Angels, the last of her triple album dubstep sampler she put out in collaboration with reputable electronic record label Planet Mu.

    Whether you’re an electronic music convert or a curious newcomer, Wild Angels makes for a great electronic music compilation, sounding like a mixtape for future generations. Hobbs, a prominent figure in England’s underground electronic scene, has used surgical precision to select artists of varied notoriety in order to present the cutting edge of electronic music. The result? A journey into unknown musical frontier, with dubstep’s definitive wobbly baseline as the driving force.

    Because Hobbs hasn’t personally created anything for the album, the sequence of the music becomes an art form just as important as the tracks themselves.

    Wild Angels starts with Mark Pritchard’s experimental “”?,”” a minimal song similar to a shuttle engine on standby. The mix then immediately blasts off with Hudson Mohawke’s “”Spotted,”” a bubbly track with acid-influenced synths. There is a general sound of upward acceleration with songs like Tranquill’s hip-hop influenced “”Payroll (Paul White’s Clean Dub)”” and Gemmy’s vibrant “”Rainbow Rd.,”” which sounds like Nintendo 64 Mario Kart. The mix’s energy peaks with the likes of booty-dropping dubstep artist Starkey and his “”Gutter Music V.I.P.,”” a powerful track backed by rumbling bass and sensual samples.

    The only criticism to be made of Hobbs’ compilation, unless you’re one of those heck-no-to-techno, Journey-or-nothing types, is that the music can start to sound monotonous, mechanical, and mind numbing. This is particularly true during the playlist’s center, when Hobbs’ compilation churns sometimes overly complex layers of a similar beat pattern. This criticism — pretty common to dubstep — can be passed off as a criticism of electronic music in general. However, it seems as if, with the falling action of Wild Angels, Hobbs directly addresses the issue with emotional tracks like Teebs’ organic, strings-intensive “”WLTA”” and Darkstar’s amazing remix of Radiohead’s “”Videotape.””

    The mix’s conclusion leaves you with a feeling of floaty electronic surrealism, with Sunken Foal’s acoustic and staggeringly beautiful “”Of Low Count & Light Pocket”” and Appleblim’s throbbing, ambient track “”Within,”” providing a peaceful sense of hovering around the moon after a mind-assaulting voyage through dense electronic soundscapes.

    Track Highlights:

    Starkey – Gutter Music V.I.P.

     Though dubstep originates in the UK, this heavy hitter is from the states, ready to demolish any dance floor.

    Darkstar – Videotape

     If you liked the Radiohead original, this new spin on the old track is a must-hear.

    Sunken Foal – Of Low Count & Light Pocket

    I’m just sayin’, it would be very difficult (read: impossible) to find a recently released electronic track more beautiful than this one.

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