Various - Physically Sick 2

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  • "There is a fetid smell, the pollen and hatred of bigotry, wafting through the air," read the text that came with the first Physically Sick compilation, released last year around the time of Donald Trump's inauguration. The 42-track collection harnessed the near-universal anger and dismay of the moment to raise money for charities like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, with a radically diverse spread of artists from across the DIY electronic spectrum. Last month, Physical Therapy's Allergy Season label and Discwoman compiled a second Physically Sick collection, which strikes a marginally more hopeful note: "Well, the world's still here. For now." Last year's anger has now crystallized into anxiety, and constant outrage has settled into numbness. ("We're still sick!" exclaims Physically Sick 2's accompanying text.) This time the group responds by narrowing their focus to one cause: the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, a nonprofit that helps individuals escape the unforgiving terms of bail that can keep even those never convicted of a crime in prison for months. The focus on a particular organisation suggests a newfound precision on the part of the artists involved. Instead of railing against a seemingly unstoppable tide, Physically Sick 2 tries to fix a broken part of a broken system. The focus on Brooklyn makes sense. While the artists on this compilation come from all over, at its core Physically Sick 2 highlights a scene that has grown out of the borough's DIY techno community. Having once set up shop at venues like 285 Kent, Trans-Pecos and Bossa Nova Civic Club, its artists now travel to play worldwide. As well as being a charity compilation, Physically Sick 2 is a survey of some of the most forward-thinking underground dance music artists operating today. Several tracks stand out. Matrixxman and Physical Therapy's collaboration "5 Years (Part 2)" is masterful contemporary techno with chords that roll in like dark storm clouds. Ciel's "Terracotta" is its antithesis, an eight-minute mist of healing ambient. BEARCAT slips into slo-mo dancehall on "VIVA." Elysia Crampton gets cathartic with "Oscollo (Drums Only Version)." Lady Blacktronika throws mentasm riffs into viscous techno with "Crazy Bantu Boy." Each track bursts with personality—it's a dance music compilation that favours difference over sameness. Call Super (as Elmo Crumb), Laurel Halo and Varg are among the big names on the compilation, but some of its highlights come from lesser-known producers. Liquid Asset's "4u" is a daydreamy haze that recalls early Brooklyn DIY techno. "Twisted," by Hiro Kone, sounds like a post-dubstep tune going off the rails. There are diversions away from dance music, like exael's swampy post-vaporwave cut, "Flowered Knife Shadows," or Oprah Goldberg's frantic "Pre Copy," which sounds like a skipping CD. Plenty other experimental moments act like pockets of relief from the banging beats around them. This makes the compilation feels well-rounded, even if you won't listen to the whole three and a half hours in one sitting. Unlike most tracks here, Tygapaw's "BLACK WOMXN EXPERIENCE" engages directly with political themes. Stories of oppression and discrimination are told over an eerie instrumental of decaying tones and unsettling sound effects. The track is relevant to Physically Sick 2's chosen aim, since the US justice system disproportionately incarcerates black people over any other racial group. But even the tracks without words are powerful because they're part of a compilation that cherishes and reaffirms dance music's origins in queer culture and inclusivity. Activism comes in many forms, and so do the people practicing it. There's no better proof than Physically Sick 2, a commendable undertaking that isn't going to save the world, but could help fix a small part of it.
  • Tracklist
      01. Fatima Al Qadiri - Pre-Extinction (Incompatibility) 02. Tygapaw - BLACK WOMXN EXPERIENCE 03. FOOZOOL & 8ULENTINA - Plasma 04. Elysia Crampton - Oscollo (Drums Only Version) 05. Ziúr - Damage-Relate 06. Giant Swan - IGOM 07. Pelada - Destado 08. íñtérséctíóń - Terms And Conditions 09. Enayet Kabir - Chokkor 10. Varg - B__H_I : 247 11. Nikita Zabelin - Four Gents (Quartett) 12. False Witness - Claudia Jones 13. BEARCAT - VIVA 14. Hiro Kone - Twisted 15. Tzusing - Cubicle 16. M.E.S.H. - Gov Patrol 17. E-Saggila - Carbon Snare 18. Shannon Funchess - See That Nigga 19. Xexexe - Air For One 20. Le1f - Zone Angel 21. Oprah Goldberg - Pre Copy 22. Exael - Flowered Knife Shadows 23. Ciel - Terracotta 24. Anthony Parasole - In The Stars 25. Matrixxman & Physical Therapy - 5 Years (Part 2) 26. Umfang - Complete Your Collection 27. Roma Zuckerman - Shakedown 28. Lauren Flax & Tigga Calore - Earthquake 29. Lady Blacktronika - Crazy Bantu Boy 30. Doxa - Disideratum 31. Ciarra Black - By Design 32. Rune Bagge - Demons 33. Puce Mary - A Severed Head 34. Elmo Crumb - I'm Still Dizzy 35. Laurel Halo - Excerpt From An Open Letter To John Paul II 36. PAUL - Presevero 37. Pil - Toy 38. Beta Librae - Short Circuit 39. Liquid Asset - 4u 40. Kiki Kudo - Freakey Ke Ke 41. Si Begg - Sick And Tired Of Bullshit 42. Bryn Barnett - Low 43. Mobilegirl - Passing 44. EMBACI - Walk On May 5th