Acef Stripe Recordings - Authenticity (Volume One)

Released: May 15

This album is technically a compilation, yes. But unlike many others, this one didn't start from any desire to stick to a particular theme or sound and instead allowed artists to create whatever felt right to them. Hence, the name Authenticity. Now you might think that this free-for-all approach would result in something disjointed and awkward. But despite no explicit coordination between the artists, we got something that is surprisingly cohesive even with its wide variance in approaches and genres. We get a little bit of everything from ambient to post-rock to synthwave and more. In just the first three tracks alone, we start out in mostly ambient territory with "Jougs" then quickly glide to a bit krautrock influenced electronic on cresshead's "Fall in - Fade out" until getting a bit of synthwave influenced downtempo on "Insides." Even with these varying tracks, it still feels cohesive and a pretty natural feeling shift. 

With these wide-ranging contributions, there's a few names I'm familiar with and a couple that I'm new to. Ambient electronic and acoustic tinkerer Whettman Chelmets appears in this compilation with a darkly-tinged noise ambient track appropriately named "Fried Memory." It's a rather slow-burn that takes its time to build up, but still leaves an impression of toasted circuits and misfiring brain cells that feel none too pressed about their predicament. There is also Time Rival of Triplicate Records giving us a bit of of a downtempo trip-hop blend in "Karman Line" that sees us to the end of the album on a chilled and somewhat lo-fi note. Greg Nieuws also appears to give us a guitar-driven romp that uses some very choice phrasing and a bit unusual scaling, making for a pleasant but mildly challenging listen.   

For every one artist I recognized, there was at least one I did not. Roofhare is one I was unfamiliar with, but after hearing "Old Tent City," I am intrigued. It made for a bit of a challenging listen with multiple parts of the track that felt as though they were sparring against one another with a clip-clop kind of rhythm and additional clacking sounds that make for a bit of an awkward mess but one that  makes for strange ear candy (something I'm always keen on). Kosmikos is another I had not heard of but actually appears twice in here. Both tracks are great, but I was a bit more particular to "Insides" for its rhythmic textures and the synthwork, though the spacey bloops of "Authentikos" were rather fun too. But I would highly recommend giving the full compilation a listen as it is very likely you'll find something new that really sticks with you. 


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