Atomnation – 10

This is a very urban record, post post-industrial, sleek, hinting at the impersonal, maybe quietly taking the mick out of all those well managed, astute modern lifestyles.

http://atomnation.bandcamp.com www.atomnation.net

Anniversary records can be tricky; even from respected labels they can be very patchy listens, the qualitative dips and sways of a label’s lifespan being there for all to see, the interesting mistakes often magnified.

Luckily the 10th anniversary release from Atomnation is a good one; using new or re-mixed tracks and sticking to the template that makes this a very interesting label, their predilection for dreamy, slightly abstract sounds well to the fore. Dutch artists Breek and Applescal are great in any case, we’ve written about them before, the offerings here are off their most recent releases. Breek’s 1974 and Applescal’s Thanks For the Fun and El Diablo are tough, melancholy tracks that flirt with a melodic sensibility and boast a sense of space and patience. We also get two tracks from the marvellous David Douglas: the opening track on 10 is a very clever choice, Douglas’s brilliant California Poppy is able to weaves its shimmering spell in such a manner that you can’t help but listen to the record in search of things to match it.

This is a very urban record, post post-industrial, sleek, hinting at the impersonal, maybe quietly taking the mick out of all those well managed, astute modern lifestyles. You can hear this in the frug of Sau Poler’s Rutes or the soulful, bombastic remix of David Douglas’s Follow the Sun.  There’s a sense of balance and repose throughout; this is a sort of dance music that doesn’t look to ruffle feathers or get anyone too sweaty; and (and I mean this in a positive manner) it could blend into the background very easily, seeping patiently into the atmosphere and subtly changing moods. Applescal’s remix of AnimalZOO does add a more strident tone in terms of making some noise, but in the main this release shows what a bunch of reflective, thoughtful groovers Atomnation has at its disposal. Indeed, a track like Weval’s The Most or Yoshiba 87’s We Are Still Alive could very easily be the breakfast music at a ridiculously trendy city hotel in somewhere like Berlin or Brussels. Where the staff try too hard to be relaxed and friendly… Maybe that’s what so appealing about this record, it knows its milieu and isn’t afraid to send it up.

Regardless of my theorising, and much more importantly, it’s a very, very enjoyable listen.