steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Various Artists

"Red Box Records" CD

Red Box Records

Genres: experimental, electronica, hip hop

Oct 21 - 27 2002

First off, this sampler is free. There is no reason for you to avoid it. Simply go to, enter your name and address, and a copy will be shipped to your door. If you don't like it, you can give it to a friend. If your friend doesn't want it, you can give it to an enemy. Either way, there's no real justification not to get it.

But is it any good? I mean, it's free - it can't be good, can it? Well, think about it this way: no record label would give away free CDRs of complete crap, now would they? The whole point is to get people interested in their music. And while this sampler may seem a bit disjointed at times (hip hop, noise, and industrial rock on the same CD??), there's a lot to be enjoyed.

The collection starts off with a nearly twelve minute piece by Departure From Royal that starts off with a dark, pounding rhythm and then evolves into a synth melody interspersed with bouts of harsh noise. Eventually the piece brings in some industrial elements and finishes off on a harder, fast-paced note. Psiv Abludyms' "Mahoganie's Plan.nets," meanwhile, is an enjoyable, moody trip hop track that brings to minds elements of Portishead (sans vocals), The Theivery Corporation, and even a bit of the Sneaker Pimps. Their second piece, "Glitched In Jupiter's Denile," is also enjoyable, and vocals are even incorporated in the last bit of it, lending it a very trippy sound. Nitwit's tracks are also fun little experimental romps, but feel as if they would be better if placed in the context of an album.

After all this comes a series of bizarre tracks from System Syntax, The Lyric District, and Engove. Some of it boasts some nice features, but much seems unstructured and silly. A nice, yet explicit hip-hop track comes in at track number eleven presumably from The Lyric District (the track listing only goes up to song ten, though, so we can't be sure). It features a pleasant turntable background, but its lyrics are excruciating immature (they rhyme gonorrhea with diarrhea, okay?)

Altogether, this sampler suffers from numerous problems, but still manages to be a fun, enjoyable time. And it's free.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 49 min 59 sec, 12 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2002]