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VARIOUS ARTISTS / WACKER THAT / TOUCH SENSITIVE RECORDS

Here’s Wacker That, the latest compilation from Belfast’s excellent Touch Sensitive Records, a crew with a lot of heart, and a taste for post-punk, new wave, ambient, cosmic drone-pop, psychedelia, abstract techno/grime and cold wave. Twelve songs long, Wacker That collects up a bevy of evocative material from a posse of contemporary producers and artists including (but not limited to) Radio Weirdo, Autumns, Cherrystones, Bloom and Natalia Beylis’ (Woven Skull), all in celebration of the label’s fifth birthday.

Beginning with the cloudy hauntological dream-drone of ‘VHS 3’ by Radio Weirdo, followed by the insectoid rhythmscapes of Sonopy’s ‘Diamante Shithouse’ and the polished experimental synth-spirals of ‘Saol Nua’ by Barry Lynn, across it’s running time Wacker That pivots between two pulls: rich cinematic ambiance (the sort that captures the majesty of the countryside) and visceral dancefloor propulsion (the kind that makes you really appreciate basement nightclubs). With ‘Loosen Up’, ‘Silk Maker’ and ‘Mystery Setting’, Autumns, Cherrystones, and Bloom render techno, electro-strut beats and instrumental grime in a set of dark, abstracted hues, serving a counterpoint of the expansive drone sculpture enacted by Documenta on ‘Selene’ and the wandering, lucid dream whimsy of Elaine Howley’s ‘Song For Mary Black’.

For my money however, the compilation’s best moments might come at the end, with the distant, ghostly drum machine bossa grooves and menacing horror chords of Group Zero’s ‘Play On Heads (Archiv ’17)’ and the playful 8-bit VGM digi-melody meets piano vibes of ‘Tommy Tubs’ by Natalia Beylis’ (Woven Skull).

Beautifully sequenced, packaged and presented (there is a t-shirt, there is a cassette tape, they look very nice), Wacker That functions twofold: Throw it on for a vibe, or cut it up for some tracks to add to your next club set; either way, you’re good to go. Happy Birthday Touch Sensitive, keep on keeping on!

Wacker That is out now in cassette and digital formats through Touch Sensitive Records. They’re also selling a commemorative compilation t-shirt. (order here)

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