VARIOUS ARTISTS: FIELDS OF FIRE
LP: Miisc r001 [2002]
Ltd x 471

Metamorphose - Stonehenge
Combat Astronomy - Spoon-Fed
V-drík - Mecaniques de Masse
Cerebral - Neener's Little Planet
Suspicion Breeds Confidence - Intim Und Nichtsdestotrotz Taub

Ativ - Trace
011001 - Nerve
Cordell Klier - 004
Fear Of Dolls - Broken Toy
Tarmvred - Run/Stop Restore

This ten-track vinyl sampler from Miisc opens with a grandiose slab of neo-classical dark-ambience from Metamorphose, all strings, choirs of monks and cavernous percussion. Stirring stuff, especially to those who like a slice of Cold Meat in their sandwich, but it's just a shame they called it "Stonehenge". Haven't they seen "This Is Spinal Tap"? Track two, "Spoon-Fed" from the delightfully-named Combat Astronomy, couldn't at first glance be any more different. Think early Nurse With Wound getting beaten up by an angry Autechre in an operating theatre with a stiffened haddock and a hardback book about the Dada movement. They drop in some Bach-esque organ samples and butcher some strings halfway through, though, so maybe there's some sort of deep connection there. Glorious stuff. V-drik and Suspicion Breeds Confidence bring us noise like your mother used to make. V-drik conceal a strangled hint of a breakbeat behind the dirty soundshards, which escapes from underneath them at the very last moment, whereas SBC's offering leans more towards subsonic rumbles and glacial rhythms. Then there are upbeat drum-and-bass interludes from Cerebral and Ativ, of which Cerebral is clearly the more competent, featuring a cartoonesque female character called Neener leading us on a merry dance through what sounds like a Warp Records board meeting. Also in breakbeat territory is Tarmvred's "Run/Stop Restore", a homage to the days of eight-bit computer games and the instantly recognisable title-screen sounds they used. "Nerve" by 011001 is a lush faux-analogue electro stomper, heavily reminiscent of "Looking Glass Men" by Forma Tadre only without the vocals. At the other end of the scale is "Broken Toy" by Fear Of Dolls, featuring whispered voices swirling around each other in a ghostly fugue. Meanwhile Cordell Klier contributes a characteristically understated slice of minimalist glitch-worship.

A more diverse, original and technically superb snapshot of the intelligent industrial scene you couldn't possibly hope for, and to hear it coming from such a small label and a set of relatively unknown bands gives me great hope. A few more releases of this calibre will surely establish Miisc as a force to be reckoned with.


ABC

[Miisc]

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