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Schematic Records Sampler

The latest various-artists collection from Schematic Records, the label’s fourth, is a kind of anti-compilation. Other than its self-effacingly — and self-consciously — bland title, Well-suited for General-purpose Audio Work, the volume provides little else in the way of explanation for itself. For example, though the CD booklet is a gatefold, the interior spread is blank. What little text there is lists the titles of the collection’s 13 tracks, the names of contributing artists and the details of publishing rights. The only other bit of text serves as a kind of subtitle, “Adorable survival music by Phoenicia, Richard Devine, Otto Von Schirach and Dino Felipe of the Schematic Music Company.” Inexplicably, that list excludes several other contributors to the project, including Kiyo, Tipper (remixed by Phoenicia), Canibal A:fraux (remixed by Devine) and Monica De Miguel (assisting Shirach). And furthermore, the track listing for the LP and CD editions diverge; not only is the sequence different, but both the LP and the CD contain exclusive tracks. In the world of electronic music, Ezra Pound’s modernist mantra “Make it new” has long since given way to “Make it difficult” — but as demanding as the Schematic crew’s shenanigans can be, they regularly reward listeners’ patience. Phoenecia’s “Homosote” layers just enough doomy haze above the burbling rhythm track to make for an interesting tangle of elastic syncopation. Dino Felipe’s “Dead Wild Horses” makes the most of its five minutes, moving from a stuttering opening through an ever-altering mix of industrial sounds and flippy sound effects before settling back down again, as if the track itself has been worn out by its effort. Kiyo’s “Philiter,” the album’s seemingly final entry, is perhaps its strongest, first building a cautious beat and then dispensing with it, and leaving only the overlay to last for the track’s nearly five minutes — and if you hold on long enough, about 10 minutes after the song ends there’s a “bonus” cut with synthesized strings and a rap that reads like an avant-electronic answer to Eminem’s brand of drama.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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