Source Lab 2

Despite an initial splash with Brian Eno’s Neroli album, Gyroscope Records, a spin-off — excuse the pun — of Caroline Records and Distribution, hasn’t quite pulled the ambient weight of Astralwerks, its Caroline sibling and home to Chemical Brothers and Photek. Gyroscope began as an American version of the British label All Saints, home to Roger Eno, Kate St. John, Bill Nelson and Laraaji, who also record together as the extraordinarily bland Channel Light Vessel. Collaboration has proven to be a theme in the Gyroscope catalog, from two promising but utterly unmemorable pairings (Andy Partridge and Harold Budd; Jah Wobble and Brian Eno); to its release in the U.S. of No Protection, Mad Professor’s critically lauded dub remix of Massive Attack’s ‘Protection’ album; to its distribution of the Sky label. Sky is home to the work of Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Kondrad Plank and Brian Eno, whose variety of teamings in the ’70s and early ’80s (the best-known being Cluster, consisting of Moebius and Roedelius) made them something akin to the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young of electronic music. Gyroscope has now licensed another label, called Source, from France. The compilation Source Lab 2, released last month, collects a dozen examples of French bass-and-drums studio experimentalism. The stuff kicks. Highlights include contributions by Bang Bang (slo-mo eclecticism, from ethno dub to jazz horns), Zend Avesta (rasty jungle) and Dimitri From Paris (downbeat urban atmospheres). The exceptional quality throughout lends further credence to the suggestion that Satie is the true father of ambient-techno music. Originally published on August 2, 1996, in epulse issue 2.26

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