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Given the never-ending deluge of compilations flooding the marketplace, is there anything to distinguish Apegenine Volume 1—twelve samplings of ambient electronica—from the competition? Launched in 2003 by Vincent Fugère (also appearing here under his Vision guise), the Quebec-based Apegenine label’s maiden voyage collects contributions from the unknown (Kaneel, Mv, Xerxes, RS3, Blisaed, and Vizion), the lesser known (Makunouchi Bento, Julien Neto), and the better known (David Kristian, Xhale, and Epoq), plus includes a concluding piece from Type Records’ Khonnor, whose recent Handwriting debut generated a rapturous reception record companies only dare dream about.
With mellow, dreamy chords draped over a languid, swaying groove, Mv’s (France-based Xavier Dang) elegant “Padma” encapsulates the comp’s general feel, while Californian Matthew Centonze likewise impresses with his stately Blisaed outing “I’m Down,” all billowing sunlit glistens and scratchy, loping beats; the audible presence of live drums and guitar also helps distinguish his piece from the others. Even more stately is Connor Kirby-Long’s “Cantelopps” whose slow church melody recalls Sigur Rós; the piece is nicely fleshed out with cello tones, electronic flutter, voice samples, and clicking beats, though comes to an abrupt end that’s disconcerting. Elsewhere, David Kristian contributes an animated mix of languid, Suction-styled techno in “Coneybeare” and Xhale’s ( Norway ‘s Erik Skodvin, one-half of Deaf City ) “In the Bathtub” layers brooding strings over percolating beats. While Makunouchi Bento creates chilled atmospheres using mellotron and Rhodes in “Mipoetri (triedan mix),” Xerxes (Klaus Lunde) provides welcome contrast by underlaying the string atmospheres of “Sphere” with a slightly funky, head-nodding lurch. Ultimately, Apegenine Volume 1 registers as a credible enough collection and won’t disappoint aficionados of the genre, but it’s hardly genre-defying and doesn’t significantly advance the existing template.