VA: One Point Three (Archives A & B)
Rednetic Recordings has long been known for its melodic and more often than not techno-oriented brand of electronic music. Established by Mark Streatfield (aka Zainetica and Cyan341) and Joseph Auer a decade ago, the label reasserts its presence with a two-part, double-CD compilation called One Point Three featuring 140 minutes of new material by roster artists and new recruits. Curated by Streatfield, the twenty-three track collection, which arrives ten years after the first installment and six after the second, covers a broad stylistic range, with melodic techno, breakbeat, and ambient tracks heavily represented.
Forever Sound (Neil Wells) eases the listener into the two-volume set with a representative exercise in bubbly melodic techno called “Aphelion,” the Rednetic brand instantly coming into clear focus. On Archive A, the label's ambient leanings are well-accounted for in a placid meditation by Wil Bolton (aka Cheju) (“Damask”), while its tougher side is represented by offerings from Utility Player (the muscular acid-techno banger “Eveflexiq”), Cyan341 (the militant tech-house jam “Tahrir”), and Kentaro Togawa, whose Hopeless Local Marching Band contribution “Craving” skitters frenetically between hyperactive string-based passages and crushing guitar episodes. Elsewhere there's pretty piano-electronic lullaby (“Looking Over the Parapet” by Murray Fisher aka MINT), brooding electronica (Zainetica's “Life's too Short”), and murky dub-techno (Langer's “Wind on Water”). Archive A's conspicuous misstep is the inclusion of a vocal on Vacant Shores' “Non+,” which isn't so bad as to be cringe-inducing but does spoil an otherwise credible exercise.
Archive B gets off on the good foot with an effervescent slice of acid-tinged electro from Auer (“Strangeland”) before moving on to a sleek high-roller (“Captcha”) and a melodic electronica sparkler (“Disposition”) from USRNM (Stuart Bowditch) and Z-Arc (Kris Derry), respectively. It soon becomes apparent that the second chapter's stylistic purview extends further than the first's: Neytoda fixes his gaze firmly on the street for a funkier grooves-heavy ride (“Exodus One”), Marco Rosso and Simon De Tomaso haul out the strobes for their disco-fied number (“Love Lazer”), Recue's “Not Tonight” works a bit of early Squarepusher-styled breakbeats into the collection, and Streatfield and Bolton team up as Anzio Green for a slow-motion ambient evocation (“Sorry for All the Mistakes”). As if to confirm the suspicion, the volume ends with the most unusual of the compilation's offerings, a woozy collage of electric harps and voices from FEAR called “Fear as Far as the Eye can See and a bit Further.”
If forced to choose, I'd opt for Archive B over A (Vacant Shores' “Non+” the deciding factor), but they're both quality collections. Only 100 physical copies of each has been made available, so those with a jones for classic electronic music of the type associated with Toytronic, Boltfish, and, of course, Rednetic shouldn't wait too long if they want to acquire a copy.