I was disappointed to learn this wasn't expressly the first part in a series, as its patchwork randomness makes it seem like a great initial installment in a scrapbook to be shared among friends and fellow-travelers. (It also made me yearn for someone to resurrect DJ subscription services like Disconet, where they routinely send you LPs of custom dance mixes, which would certainly be something of a novelty in the era of mp3 blogs.) By getting a number of collaborators, including Tim Sweeney and "Dick Cheese and Roman Wafers," to turn in edits for a vinyl-only pressing, however, the Bumrockers show that their interest in how music gets shared isn't limited to the RSS feed: They want to give you something you can hold, take home and maybe not completely understand right away, not unlike a score from the used 12-inch bin—dancefloor-ready tunes alternate unpredictably with beachy bliss-outs and a number of interstitial bonus-beat moments that recur like commercial breaks.
The A-side's centerpiece is Beat Broker's dub of Jeanne Shy's "Night Dancer," an exquisitely balanced synthy-disco tune. Behind the live kit there's a playfully wriggling filtered drum...or maybe it's a keyboard? Who knows? Either way, it's a pleasingly indistinct sound, the kind of sonic curiosity that leads obsessives like the Bumrocks crew to spend so much effort retrieving them from the deep. It's also a track which reminds you that glitz is a quality not only expressed in shiny instruments and buoyant, bubbly vocals: It can be a temporality as well, as much beholden to dynamics of anticipation, deferral and release as sentiments like joy, sorrow or menace.
The flip opens with some deep folky drift reminiscent of solo David Crosby or Dennis Wilson, then veers into a mid-tempo groover in which bell melodies are overtaken by lo-fi claps and wobbly analog spray. Then out of nowhere there's a Yello megamix which is too brief, really, to be anything other than an amusement. Sandwiched in-between all the other attractive oddities here, it doesn't have a third of the room that would be needed to satisfyingly sweep through all of their classic electro hooks. The closing cut, Leda's "Endless Race," is yet another left turn, and alone worth the LP price: a highly sought-after cut by Tangerine Dream's Peter Baumann, it's a spare, haunting production where a lone acid synth uncoils in the dark while female vocals float past with ethereal glow, and as such a striking precursor of The Knife's sinister techno-cabaret.
Sun / 21 Dec 2008
01. Unknown Artist - Boys
02. Unknown Artist - Ask Tekken
03. Jeanne Shy - Night Dancer (Beat Broker dub)
04. Tako - Sand and Blood
05. Unknown Artist - Girls
06. Tako - Overtones
07. Unknown Artist - Spiros
08. Hey Convict! - Prisoner Of My Convictions
09. Dick Cheese and Roman Wafers - Yello
10. Unknown Artist - Everybody
11. Leda - Endless Race