- Unlike Ostgut Ton, fabric's Houndstooth label doesn't always represent the club that spawned it: you can imagine Akkord's austere techno reverberating around Room 2, but probably not Aïsha Devi's cultish incantations or Snow Ghosts' gothic electronica. Bar the occasional slip-up, like the prissy hip-hop deconstructions of 18+, A&R Rob Booth's ear has been reliable moving from genre to genre, reflected in Second Storey's sprawling IDM, Call Super's lush house and techno, Special Request's UK-centric revivalism and beyond.
If Houndstooth doesn't have a strict sound, then neither do many of the 14-strong roster who contributed exclusive tracks to Tessellations, the label's third-anniversary compilation. But when referring to the likes of Throwing Snow's brilliant dubstep-house hybrid, "Elixir," that's definitely a good thing. Throwing Snow producer Ross Tones appears again in Snow Ghosts' "Undertow," which sounds like Pinch remixing a PJ Harvey and Mogwai collaboration. The portentous post-rock of Guy Andrews' "Salem Remains" is similarly cluttered, but in these cases, too many ideas seems better than too few.
Houndstooth has also been a platform for established producers to try out new projects. The vintage Metalheadz atmospherics of Special Request's "Live From Alpha Centauri" are a far cry from the house anthems Paul Woolford makes under his given name. Ditto the pensive dance floor noir of "Everything" by House Of Black Lanterns versus the aggressive onslaughts Dylan Richards once crafted as King Cannibal. "Bend Down," from Dave Clarke's _Unsubscribe_ collaboration with Mr. Jones, is more expected from the techno stalwart, and its raw energy makes "Hard Currency" by Shift Work, the duo featuring ex-Factory Floor member Mark Harris, seem pretty tame.
Such diversity sets Houndstooth in line with hallowed UK labels like Warp and Ninja Tune, who were always more wide-ranging than any pigeonhole they were thrust into. Tessellations outlines an era when the boundaries of electronic music have been collapsing like dominoes, which doesn't result in a cohesive document like, say, Warp's Artificial Intelligence or Ninja Tune's Funkjazztical Tricknology compilations. The music may not all fit together, but Tessellations as a whole should slot nicely into any open-minded collection.
01. Aïsha Devi - Sheen Saker
02. Snow Ghosts - Undertow
03. 18+ - Guards
04. Guy Andrews - Salem Remains
05. Soft As Snow - Brainliquid
06. Call Super - New Life Tone (Rue d’Awakening Mix)
07. Throwing Snow - Elixir
01. House Of Black Lanterns - Everything
02. Akkord - Vector
03. Special Request - Live From Alpha Centauri
04. Second Storey - Elephant Ride
05. Shift Work - Hard Currency
06. _Unsubscribe_ - Bend Down
07. Marquis Hawkes - Can't Stop