XIII Bis Label Compilations

['Electro-Fiction' sleeve]"Electro-Fiction" Various Artists (Compilation Album, 2001)


Fifteen-track compilation from French label XIII Bis (the new home to Front 242). Stylistically, this album is rather like this website - it's all over the place, unpredictable but always electronic at heart. Unlike this site though, there's more sub-par content than not. Almost every main branch of electronic music is represented here - techno, ambient, industrial, dance, house, space rock, downtempo etc. etc (even Marc Almond has a track). Unfortunately, there are just too many lightweight, heard-it-all-before 'dance' tracks and a couple of really bad house numbers to make this worth even considering.

What highlights exists - Mirwais' chilled out ambient vibe (Ton Souffle), Lassigue Benthaus' glitchy techno, almost erotic take on Bowie's Ashes to Ashes, Telepopmusik's unexpected, almost space rocking combination of live drums and programming on Electroménager, and Booleez's 80s computer game meets big percussion house groove North Moove - are not only few but spread out thinly across the album. Even the usually reliable David (Snog) Thrussell's dark techno project Black Lung track Gizmo Prediction Fallout, albeit still 'dark' plays too much to the dance mainstream with its overly familiar beats. Comes in a nice double-gatefold digipak though. 4/10

Rob Dyer