Various Artists - Ed Rec Vol 2
Home to rising stars Justice, Vicarious Bliss and Uffie, the fashionable French imprint's first physical compilation release comes with understandably high expectations attached. Leading the charge, the label's head honcho Pedro Winter, better known as studio whizz Busy P, offers up two selections, the lead track from his latest EP, the impressive, fizzy bass-led Rainbow Man and newie 49ers, which proves little more than a 40-second interlude. Sadly, this sort of inconsistency sets the scene for the whole album. Mr Flash, another of those given two opportunities to impress, can't even conjure up one good track - Eagle Eyez is a cheesy 80's pastiche of the type that dragged the last Daft Punk album down, and while Disco Dynamite is at least more interesting, interesting is as far as the compliments can really go - Flash has found a good solid groove to work with, but doesn't seem to have a clue how to use it, deciding to just stick a cowbell over the top of it, because hey, that works every time, right? Well... yes. But it's still nowhere near enough to make this track anything approaching essential. The man whose distinctive artwork helps pull together so much of Ed Banger's identity, So Me, gets the chance to inhabit the inside of one of his own sleeves thanks to his mash-up of Klaxons' indie dance anthems Atlantis to Interzone and Golden Skans. While it's a solid slab of dancefloor fuel (those piercing sirens still sound as fresh today as they did 12 months ago), it can't live up to some of the sublime cuts other artists have pieced together using the same material. Even the usually reliable Feadz' submission Edwrecker somehow manages to be multi-layered and completely one dimensional at the same time.
When it's good though, it's very good. Justice remain as predictably wonderful as ever, and their trademark throttled, filthy bass is used to good effect as the raucous Phantoms (Part One) proves every bit as addictive, if not quite as immediate, as the awesome Waters of Nazareth. Cuss-happy electro/hip hop/house/whatever icon Uffie chips in with what's possibly the lamest diss ever set to record, a snarky dig telling the object of her ire to 'Get off the Internet and get a life'. It's still brilliant, obviously, with stuttering beats and a fun, bouncy hook.
Elsewhere, Vicarious Bliss come up trumps with Limousine, a picked-out Casio tune paired with live-sounding drums that provides an uplifting, summery end to the CD, and DJ Mehdi's Lucky Girl also impresses, utilising as it does some oddly distorted vocals, sinister synths and cowbell actually being used to some progressive effect. Unfortunately though, this compilation is bogged down by too many artists going through the motions, characterised by Greel, the oddly subdued contribution from SebastiAn, which comes across like the musical equivalent of an actor phoning in his lines, failing to make any real impression. That 'will this do' attitude lets down what should have been an impressive showcase for an up-and-coming label with an undeniably talented roster.