Aeropuerto: ...if you wish
Abolipop Records

Transistor: Relief
Abolipop Records

VA: Compilacion 02
Abolipop Records

Minuscule text “Robots Are Friendly” peeks out from the inner sleeve of Compilacion 02 and the detail is telling, given the inviting character of these three samplings from Abolipop, a Guadalajara, Mexico-based label. Aeropuerto and Transistor produce dreamy pop and minimal tech-house respectively, while the compilation presents a broader portrait of the label's electronic sounds.

Comprised of Mexican producer Israel M and Susana Licéaga, Aeropuerto (Airport) creates bright, electronic vocal pop that pairs animated settings of clicking beats and synth-based sparkle with multi-tracked vocalizing by Licéaga, whose haunting swoon might remind some listeners of Julee Cruise. Sweetly soaring melodies in songs like “Wartezeit,” “A Pesar de la Distancia” and “Tic Tac Twins” help make the duo's third album …if you wish (with lyrics sung in English, Mexican, and German) an appealing affair, no matter its geographical origins. The group deviates slightly from the predominating style by adding rambunctious techno rhythms to “Dreaming Stars” and drops the vocals altogether in the bonus track “If You Wish (Lumen Lab Remix),” a move that amply illustrates how critical Licéaga's singing is to the group's sound.

In keeping with the title Relief, Transistor (Edgar Medina Leon) opts for a smooth tech-house style that goes down extremely easy, plus gets some remix help from Karras (Manrico Montero) and Fax (Ruben Tamayo) along the way. Minimal hi-hat and muffled bass patterns provide propulsion while pillowy washes, soft smears, and ambient crackle add atmosphere. Subtle detailing guarantees there's enough activity in play at any given moment to satisfy the headphones listener, even if the album's chilled enough to comfortably inhabit the background too. Leon brings a slightly rawer dimension to “Reiki” and “Glow” by including saxophone bleat and guitar twang, respectively, while “Dope” and “Seasick” ooze dubbed-out, steelier pulses that suggest a Chain Reaction influence.

Aeropuerto (“1”) and Transistor (“Lobby”) re-appear on Compilacion 02 along with nine others. Bucolic synth settings tend to dominate (Antena's jittery “Background,” Nebula 3's intricate “Another Way,” Supereit's arcade-flavoured “Niuweiv”) but grimier pieces appear in the form of Jackson's “Dime Boo” (chopped voices and hip-hop beats) and Destreza's “Wintek” (fragmented noises and skuzzy funk beats). Bright, instrumental electro-pop (“Boreal Cereal”) and vibes-coloured microhouse (“Tente II”) find Broadband Star and Plug aligning themselves with Aeropuerto and Transistor. The collection also features two live tracks: Lumen Lab's “Reliando de La-Do” (deranged clatter with cartoony voices and buzzing beats) and Israel M's “Siyazee” (beatless setting of dubby smears and washes). Let's hope the set's ample contrast is a foretaste of future Abolipop releases.

July 2005