July 12, 2007

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Various Artists, From L.A. With Love
Milan Records, 2007

You think Northampton, Mass., and Ogunquit, Maine, are full of slack-jawed liberal traitors, just imagine Los Angeles. They’re so artsy they can’t even bring themselves to call compilation albums compilation albums, like this record is actually a “joint art collective project” or something. Gotta love a nice tall glass of obfuscation, and if you’re willing to play along there are good tunes aplenty here, if from none of the participating small-timer names in particular, really. The collection ranges from disembodied laptop fluff to Kraftwerk blip-bloop to techno-jazz, all melding nicely with no track coming at a particularly bad time. From Leaf to Feather’s Pacman-ditty “Midnight Sun” incorporates bashful drum n bass, giving way to Blank Blue’s meeting of shoegaze and Portishead in “All the Shallow Deep.” The music evokes a mythic place where an Armani-suited Danny DeVito strolls the sidewalks with a Toucan Sam-tee-shirted George Clooney complaining about how they shoulda traded Kobe instead of Shaq, both guys oblivious to an 8-foot-tall mound of Fredericks mannequins awaiting the garbage truck. CEric W. Saeger