Compilation across the nation. April Long takes a trip into the variegated land of Various....

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Mind The Gap Vol 21
[I](Gonzo’s Flying Sound Circus)[/I]

Clattery roundup designed to pulverise everything within earshot. As many of the titles suggest – ‘It’s Murder Out There’ (Meat Katie), ‘Virus’ (Bill Laswell), ‘D4 Toxic Waste’ (Noise And Paradox) – this is nasty stuff.

Necessary or evil? Both. Although some tracks are cold and unsettling, there’s also some deliciously savage thrills like Third Eye Foundation‘s mix of Mogwai‘s ‘A Cheery Wave From Stranded Youngsters’ and EC8OR‘s corrosive ‘Stick To The Sight’. 7/10

Latin Spectrum
[I](Barely Breaking Even)[/I]

Subtitled ‘Real Latin For Real People’, compiled by former Mambo Inn club-lord Gerry Lyseight, and targeted at “jazz and funk heads”. Presumably, this is an attempt to wrench Latin music from people who think ‘Macarena’ represents some sort of cultural high point.

Necessary or evil? Even if your head is feeling decidedly averse to anything that connotes ‘conga’, your feet will find it hard to resist. 7/10

Forces Of Nature

Soundtrack to the Sandra Bullock/ Ben Affleck-pairing film of the same name. Strange alignment of the objectionably cheesy – note risible U2 cover of ‘Everlasting Love’ – with the superlatively groovy likes of Lo-Fidelity Allstars‘ marvellous remix of Pigeonhed‘s ‘Battleflag’.

Necessary or evil? Scales tipped favourably by slinky new Tricky track ‘Slowly’. Otherwise, best to avoid completely rather than risk exposure to Chris Tart‘s cover of ‘Love The One You’re With’. 6/10

Melt Down Vol 1

“Armageddon is upon us,” warns the press release. Time to enjoy a “global volcanic lava flow”. Whatever that means. Features reggae dude Alton Ellis and The Bhundu Boys.

Necessary or evil? Pretty decent for the first five minutes, then everything sounds exactly the same. Not something you should reach for when running to the bomb shelter. 4/10

Lokal – Weltweit

This German collection plays like a carefully phrased invitation to an evening in Will Oldham‘s front room with The Sea And Cake, Eleventh Dream Day, Granfaloon Bus, Beatnik Filmstars and a selection of stragglers from the international lo-fi fringes. Cozy.

Necessary or evil? Warm acoustics, meandering melancholy, gently rambling alt-country – nothing disrupts the tranquil, if slightly depressed, mood. Other than the muffled Ramones lurch of The Smugglers‘I Need A Vacation’, which appears to have erroneously migrated from a different compilation. 8/10