By Various Artists
Mmm, electro, n' stuff like that. Good, innit? 'Specially if you're signed to I Can Count Music, a record label fresh from Bob-Monkhouse-himself's seal of approval. Allegedly.
Given the short length of time that this perky little upstart of a thing has been running and the terrifyingly busy exploits of its founders, the sheer number of artists and varying origins on display here makes you wonder how the hell they got them all together under one creative roof. Your mouth drops open in a gormless fashion, and also waters uncontrollably over some of the juice on offer across these eighteen slices of eclectic, exotic musical offering.
Mica ft. Taz's 'Go Now' tweaks in on a creaky spike of guitar and presses a doorbell. You'd best answer, because the view's about to open onto a beautiful, sweeping landscape of twinkling melancholy and pastel vocals, all wrapped up with ribbons in the bittersweet 'On Arrival In Nerita', courtesy of Project New City. Then, Knol Bowie's pensive, relaxed pluckings - actually the produce of two London/Leeds-based artists rather than just one mysterious, shadowy stranger, as it sounds on first listen - wash spirals of acoustics over humming undercurrents and a deliciously deep baritone. It's chilling - but in that sort of comforting way when you feel really tiny, lost and small but somehow safe at the same time; like standing in the middle of nowhere at night and not knowing how to get home, but you're not scared because you feel like you're already there.
The entire record, in fact, feels like a distant, cosy companion. Panning, swooshing whispers of muffled electric pianos sigh in the backgrounds. Glints of alien sound spy in from far away, their eyes flashing strange colours at you. Freaky bits of noise from Pluto make you want to dance and spazz and crash into things. The pinnacle, though, slap bang halfway through, thwacks you in the face with archaic drama and earthly magic in the shape of Mickey Charbagz. A thrusty growl of midnight moodiness and neverending roads to nowhere, dripping with wrought iron pain, black mystery and lust, it's perfect. Oh, and he has a voice like a forest of molasses. The track's called 'Fuckability'. Says it all.
Elsewhere, we have Loren P. Nikkel's swaggering blast of sizzling, twisted pop; people lost in computer spheres of science fiction; quirky, cute vocals shipped over from Norway; DJs going mental with things other than vinyl and, on top of all this, a pained, yearning voice from Arizona (Arizona, fer god's sakes!) screaming acidically and fantastically over pummelling fuzz, grinding noise and squelching beats. His fake name is Music Video. His real name is Paul Jenkins. The track is called 'Odalisque'. It's on I Can Count Music's first compilation, called 'I Can Count, Volume One'. Buy it, if you have the slightest care for integrity.