Various Artists: Stellate 4 (Stroboscopic Artefacts)
Lucy’s Stroboscopic Artefacts compiles yet another (pardon the pun) stellar collection of tracks from reputable artists. As usual, the quality control is exceptionally high here. L.B. Dub Corp is a new alias of Luke Slater (aka Planetary Assault Systems) and finds him working in murkier territory, with a bit of a dub influence as well as an emphasis on deep space. It’s not so far off from the more recent PAS material he’s released, but decidedly aimed away from the dancefloor and toward outer space instead. DSCRD (aka Discordance) presents their own take on leftfield techno, focusing on rhythm and noise in a way that perhaps recalls Pan Sonic and their ilk, rumbling with low end pulse and busy details and pops and clicks, particularly on “Interitum,” one of my favorites of the entire collection. It has the spirit of techno without the obvious dancefloor utility, keeping in spirit with the collective’s manifesto. Sendai pushes further to the outskirts with the two-part “Without the Written Word,” starting off as a beatless sci-fi soundtrack that focus in tense drones and punctuated stabs of noise before evolving into something irregularly rhythmic and sufficiently menacing. James Ruskin is the most surprising contributor here. I’ve never really heard this side of him before; both of his tracks are lush, beatless, melodic lullabies. “Cast Down” is especially gorgeous, swelling with lovely pads and tinkling melodic patterns, a fitting comedown to the release. With the latest Stellate installment, this small label continues to grow its reputation for quality electronic music that both serves convention as well as transcends it by being unafraid to color outside the proverbial lines.