Indie labels and artists have faced many challenges over the last year during the pandemic, with many people struggling financially and emotionally, and, of course, venues still closed. With this in mind, David Maitland has put together this excellent eight track compilation through his own Tonic Note Records, in association with the mental health charity Breathing Space. Not only do the proceeds raised from sales of this go towards a timely and noble cause, but the scope of artists here is brilliant, fresh and exciting, proving that Scotland is still way out in front in terms of electronic music.
There is enough diversity on offer here for even the most jaded electronic music fan. Tabes’ ‘Cowboy Dreams’ is a frenetic, grimy synth pop banger, and ‘Super Sex’ by Outblinker is straight up, anthemic ‘hands in the air’ stuff which should get kids dancing at festivals, while previous cover stars, Post Coal Prom Queen, provide a blissed-out, breathy piece of pop euphoria with ‘Wait Wait Dig’, invoking scenes of girls with fairy wings quaffing cider in dance tents as the sun comes up.
‘Mono’ by Black AD channels the dreamiest reaches of eighties synth pop, a retro-futurist pop gem with a pinch of Air and a soupcon of Kraftwerk, whereas Yoker Moon’s ‘Another Hex’ is hypnotic, minimalist electronica which should resonate with fans of Boards Of Canada and their sun-dappled wooziness, and Hostel Freaks (featuring Camshackle) bring early nineties Slam vibes with ‘Electrical Storm’, techno laced with space age guitar.
Itchy beats and swooshy synths is what you get with Krytical Mass’ ‘Boxing Gloves’, and Last Of the Fire’s ‘King Lewis Of Scotland’ comes across like an electronic riposte to Gavin Bryars’ masterful ‘Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet’ with an insistent sample of a man declaring himself a new king, over a (lion) rampant rhythm.
When you buy the compilation from their Bandcamp, you get a nice looking T-shirt, featuring the bold and colourful, psychedelic-inspired artwork from Lee Tomasulo, so it’s doubly worth investing in. Who doesn’t need a bright new T as the warmer nights emerge?