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Various Artists – Your Victorian Breasts

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Various - Your Victorian BreastsI love compilations; you never know what you’re gonna get. But not only that. I hear a lot of new experimental music, and some of it has as a sound or quality that will wear you out if you listen to full albums. Not necessarily on account of the music itself, which can be very interesting and varied, but some experimentalists tend to use the same approach to the soundscape or palette of sound throughout an album. If this is the case, and even more so if the music is very minimal, or in lack of layers or frequencies, I find myself getting tired after a while. Not so with compilations, as I hear so many varied-sounding tracks that it comes out most of all as exciting.

Your Victorian Breasts was equally exciting to listen to. It’s range stretches from demos to soundtracks, archival material, cover songs and ballads, live takes or new studio works. The album was a treat to receive, as it is a magnificent-looking double vinyl LP, and such packaging always makes me feel a bit uplifted, when opening it up for the first time and setting the pick-up needle on the disc. This compilation is a collection of minimal synth-based ambient music, folksy ballads, and some improvised tracks. Quite a big range in approach, but still the various bands and artists fit well together as the tracks are mostly on the less noisier side. Some are very strange in a nice way, such as Black to Comm who uses samples together with strings and/or synths to make a sort of music concrète-like track. Or like Eric Chenaux when combining his strange singing with a Fripp-like guitar sound and chords. Others may be of a more simpler form as the folk ballad of Hamilton Yarns.

I found myself putting sides C and D back on more often, as that second record appealed more and more to me, I guess. Lovely tracks such as the above mentioned, and I also have to mention the Corridors track, which is a fantastic minimal ambient electronica track of some sort, maybe analogue synth sounds, or (naturally, I know nothing of what equipment they use) whatever, but creating a beautiful melancholic mood-setting. Also worth mentioning is the lovely ballad of Circuit de Yeux, or the crooked folk bluesy live take from Mendrugo, the latter well spiced with chatter coffee-shop ambience/sounds. It is certainly a compilation well worth checking out to discover new things if you are interested in ballads which are out of the ordinary, or carefully crafted minimal ambient music. Or just to have a nice varied record to pull down from the shelve from time to time. I know I will.

-Ronny Wærnes-

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