Personal Settings

These are two compilations released by the legendary Quatermass, the electronic and (comparatively) accessible sublabel of godlike-status freak haven Sub Rosa. Both labels in their own inimitable style have been reference points in the development of global avant-garde and electronic music in general for three decades, with too many artists to be mentioned (check some names here and here) and more than many compilations of totally weird and rare music.

Based on a loose concept of Subjectivity (total creative freedom expressed in 15 minutes), each CD contains a number of tracks by three guests. Preset 1 contains tracks by Pan American (Mark Nelson of Labradford, one of my all-time favorite artists), Komet aka famous Frank Bretschneider and Joe Kingman aka Fisherofgold, of whom I know nothing. Preset 2 features oldschooler David Morley, the unknown to me Mikhael Van Straaten aka Nodern and the original G-Man, Gez Varley of early LFO fame (who surprisingly is just a bit older than me... crap, he must have been 20 during the LFO years). There was also a 12'' with 3 tracks from here and one more of Electric Birds (the connection with the Mille Plateaux HQs is obvious).

As you can guess, music ranges from static ambient 'post-rock' meanderings and dubby landscapes to oldschool electro, deep techno and abstract 'IDM'. Electric instruments were used subtly (it was the first Post Rock era anyway) but the means are mostly electronic. The minimalistic approach was very common despite music styles (still not all-conquering), but the concept was in a way leading to this. Most of the tracks are more or less typical of their famous creators. Nodern plays a subtle indie-tinted electronica, while Fisherofgold's track (the longer one) is an abstract noisy poem. On the whole, both CDs are beautiful and interesting.

The Quatermass people were looking for unknown artists to be released on future Presets (it's on the in-sleeves), something very commendable actually for such a big label. Of course the mp3 revolution stomped down on them a bit, as they are a work-of-art based kind of label (opposed to the 'I'll make money from DJing' mentality of dance labels and Beatport artists). And those labels don't sell anymore, unless they start meddling with the collectors' market.

I don't really know what I think about that.

VA - 2001 Personal Settings. Preset 1
Part 1 - Part 2
Info here.

VA - 2002 Personal Settings. Preset 2
Info here.

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