- Cry-in-the-club IDM.
- In 2017, A Colourful Storm released a compilation of Australian indie rock called I Won't Have To Think About You. For those who've come across the label via obscure electro, techno or drum & bass, it would've been a surprise. But there's a throughline from the morose jangle of Hydroplane to the gloomy techno of Nerve. A Colourful Storm's Moopie doesn't see a difference. He once said the label's mission was to "simply explore the feelings which appeal to us most—desire, urgency, desperation."
Now Moopie and Bayu reunite for a new compilation (part two of a planned trilogy), this time focusing on emotional late '90s and '00s IDM, by turns yearning, desolate and beautiful. This is stuff only the nerdiest diggers would know about—deep cuts found on obscure compilations and unusual formats like Minidisc and CD-R. The LP centers on output from Sweden, the UK and Finland, and the biggest artist featured is Martin Haidinger, who produced under aliases such as Gimmik and Num Num in addition to running the label Toytronic. I hadn't heard of most of these artists and I was bowled over from the first listen. It's a collection of electronic music defined by its soul-baring tenderness.
The artists on Still In My Arms express themselves in murmurs and whispers, and it feels like they're in conversation with each other. The drums are lightweight and nimble, the melodies silky and glum. They're deliberate textural choices that heighten a timelessly sentimental mood. A track like Boc Scadet's "Sel Alterat"—taken from a CD-R that explains that it was "produced in a bedroom in a crappy town"—has a reedy synth lead whose smallness underlines the feeling of loneliness, alienation and longing. Each track is a solitary transmission with a diaristic intimacy, dance music in search of a dance floor it'll never find.
Carefully sequenced and only 37 minutes long, the compilation feels like a self-contained world, though there are recognisable moments here and there. The Spark remix of Multiplex, a highlight here, sounds like The Other People Place remixing Autechre. Spark, a producer from Vancouver, used to self-release albums through MP3.com. He has a pretty big catalogue, as do most of the artists gathered here. But the compilation isn't a gateway to an overlooked scene so much as a lovingly compiled mixtape. Still In My Arms' latest compilation is a strong example of the artful curation that has made A Colourful Storm one of electronic music's most exciting labels.
01. Gimmik - Scope
02. Plod - Aptaxi
03. Bauri - Have No Fear
04. Num Num - South Quay
05. MD - 11
06. Boc Scadet - Sel Alterat
07. Abfahrt Hinwil - Tech8
08. Multiplex - Angles (Spark Mix)
09. Lackluster - KCL1
10. Proem - Your Grandfather Is Dead