Monday, August 15, 2016

Various - Transmissions From The Planet Dog

Mammoth Records: 1995

Planet Dog was doing well for itself within their motherland. Legendary festivals, highly touted roster of genre-bending musicians, nods of approval from famed DJs like Sasha and John Peel. Finding a Stateside distributor was inevitable, but going with Mammoth Records was an odd choice. The print out of Carrboro, North Carolina was primarily a rock outlet, dealing with alternative, industrial, and indie. Some of their more successful acts included Machines Of Loving Grace, Seven Mary Three, Squirrel Nut Zipper, Kill Creek, Vanilla Trainwreck, and The Bats. I’m sure they are all perfectly wonderful bands in perfectly wonderful scenes, but yeah, drawing a big ol’ blank on most of these. But then, I’m sure most Americans were drawing big ol’ blanks on names like Eat Static and Banco de Gaia, so to help their Planet Dog chums from across the Atlantic, Mammoth released this double-disc primer featuring the label’s biggest acts (re: those who’d released a full LP).

As such, CD1 of Transmissions From The Planet Dog is hopelessly redundant where my own collection is concerned. Essentially the Eat Static/Banco showcase, it borrows three tracks from Abduction, two from Implant, three from Maya, plus a remix of Qurna that was used in most live versions of the song anyway. They didn’t pluck the best Maya tracks either, and though I don’t have Eat Static’s Implant, the two tracks they have here didn’t inspire me to rush out for that record. But hey, if you need a cheat-sheet of both early careers, this CD does a decent job introducing them.

For my money though, the highlight is CD2, where Timeshard and Children Of The Bong get to strut their stuff. Granted, the same problem remains, in that if you already have the albums from which these tracks came from, it’s another wholly redundant collection of tunes. Hell, half of Timeshard’s debut album is on here! On the other hand, Children Of The Bong’s contributions are pretty rare for the three tracks you get, one coming from an early tape-only release, and another found on an obscure, non-Feed Your Head Planet Dog compilation.

Even so, considering both Timeshard and Children Of The Bong didn’t last much longer beyond the compilation, their back-catalog grew rather difficult to procure, making Transmissions From The Planet Dog one of the few places you could find their music anymore. And believe me, these guys are worth checking out if you fancy yourself the psychedelic side of electronic music. This is psy dub before the genre really had much demarcation or boundaries for itself, fearless in whatever sounds, instruments, and influences were thrown into the pie. Electro rhythms in acid-drenched Ionospheric State? Go for it! Epic sojourns of mystic lands across the shores of Space Goa? Crystal Oscillations got yo’ back! Ultra spliff haze as dubbed out in Symbol I? Groovy, man. Woozy acid-dub while jamming with Ravi and Jimi? Only with Oracle. Considering how polished psy dub turned after the millennium, it’s refreshing hearing some so deliciously crusty.


ACE TRACKS:
Timeshard - Crystal Oscillations
Children Of The Bong - Ionospheric State
Children Of The Bong - Ultrascope

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