The Wierd Compilation Volume II: Analogue Electronic Music 2008, as heard at M/R/X-Wolfpak, 8/02/08
By Liz Ohanesian
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Job Leatherette at M/R/X-Wolfpak
The Wierd Compilation Volume II: Analogue Electronic Music 2008 isn’t the sort of album one might expect to hear from start to finish inside an L.A. dance club. With 39 tracks pressed onto four pieces of vinyl, it’s long enough to take listeners from the first round at the bar to last call. But the promoters of M/R/X-Wolfpak, Job Leatherette, Tony X and Eric Dead, seemed undaunted by the album’s length. They simply opened the monthly minimal electronic/death rock party an hour early and divided halves of the album between the club’s two rooms.
On a large patio overlooking Chinatown, we could hear a collision of sounds that stem from New York City’s weekly analogue electronic-heavy party Wierd, with pure noise running up against stripped-down synthpop for the large (by 9:30 p.m. standards, at least) crowd that had gathered outside. Inside, a few people had taken to dancing to the album in full, including the dissonant parts. Where listening parties can often come across as a concession to the music geeks begging to hear non-singles at the party, this one felt like it was one of the resident DJs’ sets. In part, this is because M/R/X-Wolfpak’s selectors have long championed Wierd artists, particularly Xeno and Oaklander and Martial Canterel. However, the compilation itself works surprisingly well in a nightclub, at least in a nightclub like this one where the focus is on playing bleak-yet-danceable tracks that even the biggest electro-heads can’t trainspot.
Although the thirty artists appearing on this compilation all have a connection to Wierd’s weekly party, this is not a New York-centric release. Instead, Analogue Electronic Music 2008 brings together groups from across the world (Waves, featuring noise artists Damion Romero and John Wiese, represent Los Angeles) under the tag “the analogue synthesizer as a folk instrument of humanist resistance.” The translations of this concept are varied, ranging from experimentations in high frequencies to stark, ambient pieces to should-be dance hits (like “Frostbite” by Three to Forgotten’), but the sentiment and execution remains cohesive throughout the course of the compilation’s four records.