May 21, 2009

Slag Boom Van Loon - So Soon (2001, Planet Mu)

Slag Boom Van Loon is the awkward name of a collaboration project between Jochem Paap (best known for his prolific Speedy J techno/IDM releases) and Mike Paradinas, aka µ-Ziq, label-boss of Planet Mu. Their first CD was one the initial Planet Mu releases in the late '90s, although it didn't cause much of a stir in the US. "So Soon", however, is a remix collection with contributions by many of the luminaries of the IDM/experimental electronic scene of the late '90s - early '00s. The album was making a buzz on music forums even before its release, because of the announcement that the album would include exclusive tracks by Boards Of Canada and Coil. At the time, Boards Of Canada were basically red-hot in the IDM community, having released their incredible "In A Beautiful Place..." EP and album "Geogaddi" the previous year on Warp (and, unbeknownst to fans at the time, would take another four years before their next full-length). As I recall, the 12" version of "So Soon" was released slightly before the CD, which also helped elevate the buzz (plus it included an exclusive Múm remix which didn't make it onto the CD). The album is a very cohesive unit, exploring a variety of sonic terrains in the IDM landscape. µ-Ziq explores minimal tech-house sounds in his own glitchy way, while Leafcutter John assembles found-sound organic recordings into crunchy beats. There is a heavy dose of glitchery and some noisy DSP effects, but overall the tone tends toward the ambient and abstract side. The classic warm IDM sound is captured in buzzing synth tones, but there is also a futuristic edge that the Planet Mu label is well-known for. Boards Of Canada and Fourtet both present mellow, downtempo tracks, while Pole, Horse Opera and Coil create gritty, abstract ambient interpretations of the tracks. All of the artists involved in this project have extensive back-catalogs of excellent releases of their own, so this album can be a great introduction to a wide array of new musicians.