Various Artists – Pikadon Nights (Datum)

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Perhaps I’m just out of the loop, but I had no idea that there was such quality coming out of the Brisbane electronic underground. Compiled and curated by digital all-sort Sean Taylor (aka Mute-til-late aka Prince Nod) for Datum Contemporary Arts and Research Society, the Pikadon Nights compilation was released as part of this year’ Straight Out Of Brisbane festival, and represents something of a coup for the Brisbane’ small but diverse IDM, electronic and experimental hip hop community. A fascinating showcase of our northern neighbour’ underground, Pikadon Nights taps into a wealth of raw and rugged instrumental hip hop, abrasive electro and razor-sharp IDM. Taylor kicks off proceedings himself – in the guise of alter ego Prince Nod – with the eerie, hard-hitting hip hop of A Fair Appraisal; blending Eastern-influenced inflections with rock-hard beats and film-noir dynamics. The heavily textured beats and rhythms of sQwurm’ aL.teR.nate-oR make it an early highlight, while the crunching beats and almost playful, Plaid-esque melody of Xanpha’ Peru are another strong point. The record winds down with quieter, more organic efforts from Dempefka, Sweet Sweet Lo-Fi and Aubyn, which are brilliant, contemplative points of conclusion. This is surprisingly solid and aesthetically cohesive collection, which works flawlessly as a record. While it’s a credit to Sean Taylor’ curatorial work, it also says a lot about the quality of the artists. At only eight tracks and 39 minutes, Pikadon Nights is compact and succinct, and no track is wasted. I may be out of it, but I’ll tell you what, the Brisbane electronic underground is one loop I want to be part of.

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