There’s nothing like an anniversary as an excuse to put together a compilation, and German label Ad Noiseam has reached the very eminent age of 5 years old. The label has been a great home to experimental electronica of all types, and had excellent releases under its belt from artists such as Enduser, Larvae and Mad EP, but it’s to their credit that this 2CD+DVD compilation is comprised (on the CDs, anyway) of entirely unreleased material.
Much though I enjoy good noisy shit as much as the next guy, I would lean towards CD1 as my favourite. There are some exquisite sounds on here, from Mad EP’s dark classical-sampling hip-hop and Ukrainian Andrey Kiritchenko’s granulated acoustic guitars to Enduser’s collaboration with vocalist Kazumi — the lighter end of his beats, but no less junglist for that.
CD2 (appropriately black to CD1′s white) jumps straight in the deep end with Cdatakill’s “Yesterdays” — beats made of noise, and chewed-up vocals floating over the mess. It’s a very worthy successor his stunning (if over-the-top) version of “Strange Fruit” from a few years back on Low Res. Things continue with dark hip-hop, electro and breakcore from Bong-Ra, “The” Panacea (for some reason an old-guard hero to some in the breakcore scene) and others; Curtis Chip turns in another piece of melodic drill’n'bass, while Detritus’ razor-sharp beats contrast with the tinny-yet-forceful clatter of Tarmvred.
Double CD sets can leave the listener’s attention flagging at some point, but for me it’s the DVD that got left a little by the wayside. Watching through the videos, the general theme is of pretty low-budget affairs (and annoyingly they’re all framed in TV’s squareish aspect ratio, so the many widescreen clips are shrunk on a widescreen monitor). That said, the Bikini Bandits video for Bong-Ra’s “Sp66d d6mon (666mph rmx)” is fun, and Joel Trussel’s battling rock’n'roll cartoon Vikings for his video of Jason Forrest’s “War Photographer” have all the insanity required for JF/DS. The best is probably saved for last: Larvae’s own video for “Solo Shoots First” mashes up Kill Bill with Star Wars in a unique fashion. Anyway, the sound quality’s good, so effectively there’s 14 more tracks (give or take a couple of duplicates) for your enjoyment there.