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Camp Out 001

Various Artists

Beat & Path
BNP050 | 2023-02-17  
Beat and Path have spent two years nurturing talent, throwing their weight behind albums from Sanoi and The Oddness and tracking Uone and Western's treks into gold-rush territory. But it's been 28 months since their last VA release, and Camp Out 001 provides the variety that was set up in 2020's Winter Sampler.

There's an eclectic range of tempos and romp factor here; this compilation being as much about dancing under trees as lying in a fireside cuddle puddle while someone plays amateur astronomer. Alongside the big Beat and Path names, there's also a healthy recognition of bubbling talent, with material from relative newcomers like cosmopolitan Queenslander Paul A George and Wellington indie-pop trio Kita.

The ascent on this journey is a gentle one – Sanoi (Jonas Fischer) and Zuke (Ed Zuccollo) lay out a shimmering low-tempo rework of ‘Through the Trees', with an Acid Pauli swagger on the lows. Nikita 雅涵 Tu-Bryant sets a sylvan tone for the release (‘through the trees I see, I breathe…'), something that Sanoi and Zuke expertly accentuate with high granular shimmers, conjuring stars between pine needles.

Caly Jandro is a regular on the label by now, but with ‘Ashes on the Breeze', he shows he's not sticking to any formulas. Over nearly eight minutes, Rhodes stabs and restrained guitar vamps conjure nomads dancing against the flicker of fire. Vocal samples add a dimension of history, lending an Anatolian touch that's guaranteed to project immersive closed-eye visuals, while Addzy's reverb-drenched guitar lines introduce a plaintive, human touch.

By the third track, the energy levels are rising, and the Middle Eastern flavour has taken over (the modal riff on the Turkish Saz being alluded to in the track's title, ‘Fridgian Dominant'). Transcenic are a relatively fresh duo, but their solo efforts in South Island doofs as Spoonhead and Subminimal go back a long way, and you can hear that collective experience in this self-assured suspense-building exercise.

The compilation's midpoint is an undeniable stomper combining everything you could want from a Uone and Out of Sorts collab: shakers pulling you straight onto the dancefloor, tryptamine vocal processing, and an edgy spoken word snippet courtesy of the late Reverend Jim Jones. ‘Ba Ba Ooh' plays to its collaborators' strengths, uniting Out of Sorts' grinding Teutonic production with Uone's jester mentality. The result is something that'll be damn-near irresistible at one in the morning.

There's an interesting divergence next, with the compilation taking a turn towards more introspective territory. Melbourne singer-songwriter DLNJA has written something complex and eloquent, built around a plaintive vocal line exploring a sense (in the artist's words) of ‘misplaced nostalgia'. It's appropriate that this is the first track from the artist's upcoming mini-album on Beat and Path, ‘Timeless, given the way its major/minor shifts create a sense of suspension from time. This is one for those who appreciate the contemplative side of electronic music and the world of distance that exists between a track and a song.

The penultimate track (‘Lymbic') comes from Paul A George, a man from a town of under 4,000 who channels a surprising range of global influences. His brief discography reveals a producer who understands organic house staples without getting stuck in them; ‘Lymbic' is a memorable piece of arpeggio-driven progressive, with a confident sense of arrangement and wistful vocals to boot.

This first Camp Out edition ends on a high, with Uone joining his most consistent collaborator Western for some pure dancefloor dynamism. Percussion-heavy, undisguisedly synthetic, and insistent; like all beautiful things, ‘Lords of Light' doesn't care tuppence for how it's perceived.

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