Music without vocabulary can still say a lot. All the great instrumental music out there talks to us on many different levels, providing proof for this cognizance. Just like telling a good story with words, telling anything with instruments and voiceless music, is a task and a half. Thus ever so often instrumental music is not even babbling, but an empty assembly of rhythmical sounds in a certain beat.
A bundle of artists from places like Zürich and Chicago sit us down for some fairy tales rather than lullabies. They created songs with the help of quoted artists and they intend to form a plot and a message. At least we hope they do. We hope this music is able to hold its own. That it's capable of transporting meaning, despite the lack of vocabulary.
After a quick public service announcement "Intro," where people are urged to stop taking drugs, we move into Dimlite's "In Groups To The Hydrandd". This is a good example for what instrumental music can do, as there's changes in the song, there's vibes that we can mentally surf and that can soak our auditory canal. This song stays rather dim throughout the duration, can however get to you if you're in the right vibe. And the right vibe probably involves darkness, an orange light and a glass of red wine. It's however one of those songs on this album that wouldn't mind to be on a "Cafe Del Mar" compilation - even as merely un-melodic lounge music. Another one is "Changes At Dawn" and a little less "Almost Famous", both by Lexx. And the first in particular might just be a little too clean and trendy.
Reezm borderlines the ever so common threat of a bouncy instrumental-please someone rhyme over me-beat. His "Strudel Chop" however has enough bounce and well placed vocal samples for us to join the party as if this was some old relaxed Crooklyn Dodgers release. The guitar sample on his second song "One Horse Town" is very funky but struggles to really do much more than just sound funky. It finds a cousin in Meaty Ogre's "Koreander", an even quicker song with a lot more depth to it, if not to just generally say: with a lot to it. And as good this song is, as unspectacular is "Je Ne Joue Part I", while "Je Ne Joue Part II" at least has a certain improvisation character.
There are more abstract and minimal songs like Justin Sayne's "The Word Now Is A Pleonasm", while his "Young Punk" features great jazz samples. Fadri's "Alo" is very quiet, very reduced and leaving a lot of gaps between the oriental sounds. It's much more conceptual than "Kabalaba", which is mainly choppy. Speaking of: Cutmando cuts and chops up a horn and background for "Granny's Groove", while Reezm's "The Duke Of Room 660" fails to do much at all.
The true winner on this compilation however is Dreas: all his songs are a pleasure to listen to. Be it the rough "Crossing The Bridge" that is not even atmospheric or mushy, but has that kick and drum that gets your neck in motion. This is a great song and does not loop the hell out of the flute. He returns with a much more relaxed "Retrograde Changes," which is not yet mellow enough to kick up your legs, cuddle in bed and suck frozen red fruits, or hug a mug of hot tea on a cold day. But it's a moment where you can calm your nerves, shake your head, chew a bachelor pizza and shush away bad thoughts. While his "Summer Gangster (Chicago)" is too short to really leave an impression. But it's followed by another great song on here: Deckard's "In Da Net." And finally, Justin Sayne wraps up the package with "Outro" and a known sample that he stops short, still leading us into the promising sunset.
Now, several songs on here are very short, often just a glimpse of an idea. At the same time, several songs sound bare and unfinished, leaving the audience behind facing a desideratum for more. However, the good cooks of Ish Records made sure to put some nutmeg - despite the PSA - into their dish, nutmeg being of course an addictive spice. So don't be surprised if you get hooked on many of these many songs. As the talent is here. And despite the couple of dishes that lacked a little bit of seasoning, the whole meal is good, healthy, filling and satisfying.