Published Apr 10, 2020There is a striking diversity within the catalog of Los Angeles-based tape label Doom Trip Records. Label head Zac Emerson prides himself on his eclectic roster, which runs the gamut from home recording guru R. Stevie Moore to the Trans Am-baiting home brew electro of Rangers to the noisy blasts originating from the Cairo-based Tarkamt. The single thread woven throughout the Doom Trip stable is that of originality and creativity.
One interesting aspect about Emerson is his unflagging desire to celebrate the anniversary of his first Doom Trip release. Every year in April, a new Doom Mix is released. Each entry features a mix of Doom Trip alumni and artists that Emerson feels are at the upper end of the creativity spectrum.
This year marks the release of the fourth instalment of Doom Mix, in which Emerson juxtaposes a more visceral, ear-gasm-inducing A-side against a slightly more ethereal array of performances on the flip. The opening track, courtesy of Fire-Toolz, sets the stage with its leading sample that intones, "You know this is like having sex with God every morning before breakfast."
Nmesh, with his arm's-length nostalgia prankster vibe, provides just one of many highlights to the first side of this long, strange trip of a compilation. Other standout efforts include heavy-hitting oddities such as those offered by upcoming Los Angeles mixologist maral and Hausu Mountain label head Maxwell "Mukqs" Allison.
Cruel Diagonals take the proceedings in a darker direction with an oblique electronic rhythm and smoky vocal incantations. This more evocative vibe is furthered by Peter Berend's latest offering as KWJAZ, his first new music in almost 10 years. Ireland's Lighght steers the ship toward an EBM fever dream, which is actually quite alluring.
There is a nearly perfect compilation on offer here; it's the sheer immensity that ultimately keeps it from being pristine. Succumbing to 70 minutes of probing by various strains of alien electronics is certain to leave one feeling exhausted and a little bit overwhelmed. The secret is to revel in the wheat while skipping past what little chaff there is. (Doom Trip Records)