Various Artists

[Reproduktion 13 sleeve]"Reproduktion 13" (EP, 2013) !dsoaudio recommended!

Bandcamp download

The asking price for this EP, released in advance of the Reproduktion 13 mini-festival of electronic music taking place on 4th May at the Roundhouse in London, is the ludicrous bargain price of 1. One English pound. That pound in your pocket doesn't go as far as it did before the economic meltdown, so you ought to invest your money wisely in such straightened times. The smart can stop searching and safely invest here. For the returns in years to come will be plenty.

Essentially a showcase for each of the acts appearing at the Reproduktion 13 festival, this is a valuable and welcome addition to anyone's download library. Like the festival that spawned it, this five-track EP spans the range of what is regularly labelled 'electronic music'. Chris Gilbert aka Mild Peril's opener Delta Zone, first sequence will totally satisfy those who like their synthesiser soundtracks from the 1970s, instrumental and slightly trippy. I loved it. It's easy to get this sub-genre wrong, but Gilbert pulls it off with aplomb. Anyone who is a fan of Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis et al, will lap this up. I definitely want to hear more from Mild Peril. 

For immediate contrast, John Costello's Lock Load Aim Fire (in a correctly entitled 'hard mix') pulls us out of the head drift created by Mild Peril, dragging us into his world of dark-tinged art synthpop. Old school in spirit it may be but with contemporary execution (it's tough at heart but not bombastic in execution), as a first sampling of Costello it suggests delving deeper into his esoteric back catalogue of cassette albums and independent label releases that he has been involved with since 1986 will reap further riches. 

The three subsequent tracks each come from acts that dsoaudio has had a long-standing affection for. Representing the 'lounge electronica' element of this release and the festival, Cult With No Name have contributed Today's The Day (redux) a reinterpretation of a song from their current album Above As Below. Given that I've been following these two talented Englishmen since their debut in 2007, I realise this is the first CWNN remix I've ever heard and it's a complete success. Which only makes me want to hear more remix work by the band of their own work, prompting thoughts that a remix album of their back catalogue would be a fine idea indeed. 

Electropunk pioneers Naked Lunch of Some Bizarre album fame serve up a polished master of their minimalist La Femme from that 1981 album. From the opening seconds of a triggering analogue synth, to the pure electronic percussion, through the Ultravox!/Tubeway Army-esque Arp Odyssey-like wailing of the chorus, and the deliberately droll vocal delivery, La Femme conjours up a chilling yet somehow attractive post-apocalyptic wasteland. This is true gem of a song fully deserving of the label seminal, and great to have it in a quality format that enhances the subtle depths of the original recording. Brilliant. 

Bringing us firmly up to date, and wrapping up proceedings (presumably in blood-constructing rope bondage), is Martin Bowes' eternally dark Attrition project. Narcissist is the headline song form the first single off the new Attrition album The Unraveller of Angels. The incarnation appearing before us here, in the 'Void Prototype remix' guise, is Attrition in full dark electronica mode. Which means to say the beats thump, the sequenced synths bubble with dancefloor intent, the taunted female voices haunt the background whilst Bowes exorcises demons with his uniquely unsettling vocal delivery. 

It's almost a shame this is just a five-track EP, as the quality is so consistently high that I'm left wanting more of each artist, and if they'd doubled up (or more) we could have indulged in a full album's worth. However, as a marketing exercise in raising awareness of the artists performing at Reproduktion 13 festival next month, and in terms of delivery value for money as an introduction to each of the acts, there's little that could be bettered. 8/10 

Rob Dyer (April 2013)

Reproduktion 13 - Bandcamp download