- Mutant pop and club sounds from Portugal's queer underground.
- Air, Fire, Earth And Water Benders Unite pulls together tracks from artists who were meant to play the release party for Lisbon artist Odete's new record, Water Bender. While the compilation is a byproduct of extenuating circumstances, it's a welcome result, because it's a showcase for a sector of experimental club music that has started to overturn the chaotic, broken-glass-and-found-sound paradigm that once defined the style. A mélange of mutant R&B, jumpy beats and straight up noise, Water Benders Unite is a look into a growing queer Portuguese underground producing some of the most eye-opening electronic music around, pairing plush melody with jagged noise.
The release is split between swooning vocal jams and scorched earth club music, a combination that makes sense in a landscape that also includes emo club crooners like Organ Tapes and Ecco2k. Herlander's contribution is an easy highlight, a silky mash-up cover of Busta Rhymes' "I Know What You Want" and Fat Joe's "What's Luv" which is so polished and glossy it could be a mainstream hip-hop production (with a great vocal to match). Swan Palace's "Heavy Tears Like Freckles," meanwhile, boasts gorgeously glassy '90s adult contemporary production.
On the other end of the spectrum, Naive associate BLEID contributes a crispy club track "Wings Of Wax" that thrashes itself around violently, and DRVGジラ's "FIRAGA," which sounds like it set itself on fire—a storm of distortion that could make Aaron Dilloway blush. Between these extremes are all kinds of experiments in the middle ground between pop and experimental club, some produced by Odete herself. While this compilation represents a disappointing event for Odete (whose Water Bender EP is well worth checking out), it's morphed into something newer and more community-oriented, a look at a new generation of Portuguese club kids.
01. Herlander - If You Give It To Me What's Luv Got To Do With It?
02. Swan Palace - Heavy Tears Like Freckles
03. Bleid - Wings Of Wax
04. Ness - Cnthold
05. Drvgジラ - Firaga
06. Alada & Mtma - Piassy
07. Diego Navarro X Kilbourne (Stasya's Beauty Blending)
08. Odete & Stasya - Angst (Demo)