Various Artists – Exit (Jelly Bean Farm)


Los Angeles-based electronic music label Jelly Bean Farm burst out of the gates earlier this year with their debut compilation ‘Enter’, and just a scant month on they re-emerge with a second chapter suitably titled ‘Exit’ that completes the extensive overview of their current artist roster. What’s particularly most apparent upon listening to the twelve tracks collected on this download only compilation is the looming influence of current UK-centric sounds, and indeed upon first listening to ‘Exit’ I was pretty convinced that it was the work of an English label, with the post-dubstep and grimy stylings suggesting Brixton far more than the sunny West Coast.

While there’s a distinct emphasis throughout upon breakbeats and a hefty bass presence, in this case it’s the diversity of approaches brought to the table by the various producers featured here that perks the interest levels. Phrixus’ ‘Locate & Destroy’ opts for a darkly cinematic path as ominous orchestral synths and swelling bass ambience give way to vast crunching beats and limber rolling kickdrums, the relentless forward motion calling to mind the likes of Martyn and early Burial given a more tribal stomp, as the sub-bass drops relentlessly circle around the stamping percussion. Loss’ ‘Dat Dat’ meanwhile sends rapid-fire bataucada-style snare rolls snapping against a backdrop of whirling hyper-accelerated percussion fills and airy hi-hats while cut-up and stuttered vocal samples ricochet back and forth, in what’s easily one of the most Latin-tinged moments on offer here, though the hiccuping snare kicks near the end manage to drag things straight back to grime territory.

Elsewhere, Mershack’s ‘So Tuff’ crafts dark sheeny electro landscapes that bear the trace of early noughties nu skool breaks in their sharp-focus collision of scissoring snares and vast sub-bass drops, the addition of flitting female soul vocal samples sealing the retro-charged atmosphere, before Foxmind’s ‘Ordeal (Machine Tendencies)’ ushers in what’s easily this collection’s most intriguingly abstracted offering, as a lurching bassline and loosely clattering percussion that calls to mind Throbbing Gristle or Coil more than anything else battles for space with chaotically refracted electronics and dubbed-out effects. On the evidence of ‘Exit’, Jelly Bean Farm look to be a label worth keeping an eye on.


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