Various Artists
Clicks And Cuts Vol. 3

By Miles Hawthorn

 
Mille Plateaux, the electronica arm of Force Inc records, has long been associated with cutting edge compilations, seeming to have a knack of forecasting the future and setting the trends before they happen. They began with the Modulation & Transformation series, of which there have now been four editions, and then launched into a series of six Electric Ladyland compilations, twisting the system in another new direction. Having nailed down these previous developments, Mille Plateaux continue with the third installment in the series of Clicks and Cuts, having as usual snapped up all the key players to contribute again. The clicks and cuts of the title are the glitches or errors that are now central to the electronic music making process; creating tracks from what would have previously been binned, or as Matthew Herbert puts it, 'Let's all make mistakes'.

On first listen this double album is far more accessible than the previous two compilations. Some of the more obtuse and esoteric artists have gone and 'the sound' now appears to be far more house/garage based rather than minimal. It is also notable how many tracks, including most of the best, utilise vocals, particularly female ones. The brilliant Luomo Melt which opens disc two, best represents the house element, also of course using an Agf vocal. At over nine minutes it's an epic dub influenced track with an ear-catching vocal and production to take on all comers. Swayzak's Don't Quit Please is an uncomplicated, squeaking and creaking tech-house number but possesses a killer bassline that gives it real power. Tim Hecker wraps a veil of white noise around some familiar sounding rock vocals, which are gradually deconstructed into a nebulous house number. MRI gives us a starry, fizzy and cathartic downbeat jam, much in the style of the excellent Blue on Force Tracks. Agf Pianos takes her vocals, and then smashes them into little pieces over some severely spangled beats in an ode to the indispensability of the piano, including the fitting line 'All the rules are made to be broken, are they really necessary melody or rhythm?' On the evidence of this album: yes. Tracks on here seem to eke rhythm and melody from the most awkward and unusual places but they still seem to be imperative. I think that makes this is a more enjoyable album for most than its previous weighty counterparts and one that is embracing exciting and modern musical genres. The few tracks that sound more 'minimal' such as Robin Judge's Rhizome sound rather empty and dated to me. There are plenty of tracks on here that do show, I think, there is a good deal of life left in this beast.
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