The Databloem label is all about cool, cutting edge electronics, without the annoying heavy incessant beats that drive me away from liquid trance and similar styles. The eleven tracks on Collection 2: Moving include four artists that are familiar to me and seven that are new. In the latter category, Mantacoup’s “Sap” starts things off strong, with a long whooshing fade in, followed by soft bells and a guitar-like synth lead. Mantacoup’s new album Equinox has some glitch and other intentionally coarse elements, but this track is velvety smooth. “Nano” by Carbon Boy is very comfortable and utterly cool, with deep bass and a gentle backbeat. The Circular Ruins is always a winner in my book and “Empathy Test” is no exception. An assortment of warbling electronic sounds give way to a vintage synth lead, assorted interesting voice samples, and other cool stuff.
My favorite track may be “Displaying Movements” by Spielerei, a.k.a. Databloem label founder Dennis Knopper. A spellbinding sequence forms the main structure of the piece, the rest of the sounds nicely dressing it up and riding its coattails to the end. Mechanical clicking beats signify the start of another homemade synthesizer sound fest by Saul Stokes, “Sopra.” The wavering lead line is a touch disturbing, but Stokes is never anything if not original and a bit quirky. Next comes one of my favorite recent discoveries, Todd Fletcher’s work under the name Psychetropic. “China Radio Sunshine” is melodic, accessible, cutting edge, and vintage, all at the same time. It gets a strong pulse going and stays in a good groove. Perhaps the most variety in a single track is found in “Qulina” by ENV(itre). Moving from Berlin school to dance/techno, dub, ambient atmospheric, and all-around electronica, it covers a lot of ground in five minutes. Makunouchi Bento’s “Mipoetri” sounds more French than either the Japanese group name or the Romanian descent of its two members, combining female French vocals with modern lounge music. Subradial’s “Misty Hills” is layered with exciting percussive touches and a simple synth sound or two to hold the beats together. Another favorite of mine, Vir Unis contributes “Bead Game,” a piece that combines his two favorite styles in one. Soft atmospheric textures float over a bed of hip beats, the end result being every bit as good as anything on Mercury and Plastic, which is saying something. Cyscape closes with “Elumina,” an appropriately dreamy piece with a touch of glitch to bring a groovy disc to a groovy conclusion.