Velvet Desert Music vol. 2 (Kompakt)
This is a marvel. German musician/producer/selector Jörg Burger’s second Velvet Desert Music compilation for Cologne’s Kompakt label serves up warm, groovy, atmospheric electronica of startling freshness. The exclusive and mostly instrumental tracks by artists from France, England, Mexico and Germany – including Jorg himself – were commissioned with a very particular vision in mind, articulated in the album notes as “what happens when you extract the essence from genres as diverse as spaghetti Western soundtracks, moody lamp-lit pop, downtempo, Krautrock, minimalism, classic ‘60s psychedelia, and more, and let their scents intermingle”. Kompakt regular Superpitcher’s midtempo techno shuffle “Monterey Paris Texas” is one of the more obvious echoes of the label’s signature sounds, yet even this one nails the distinctive vibe Burger is seeking with its moody, melodic mashup of sunny West Coast psyrock, sensuous wordless vocal touches and rippling desert guitars. Velvet Desert Music Vol. 2 is compilation album as art form, one of the most perfectly realised comps of electronica on the lounge tip I’ve heard anywhere in the past two decades. It goes far beyond Tarantino-style soundtrack retro, even beyond brilliant pastiche excepting a couple of guitar-driven power pop numbers. It’s both then and now, and it feels like the passage of time between the two simply doesn’t exist.