Phantom Channel’s second download compilation, like the first (reviewed here), is available for nothing from the label website. It’s an eclectic, if generally downbeat, collection, which expands the parameters considerably from the first. This does have the downside that there is less cohesion, and the standard isn’t as uniformly high as on its predecessor, but there is plenty of excellent material on offer.
Things get off to a stuttering start before the collection hits its stride with track three, “Tired of Losing” by Engine7. It’s a muscular, upbeat technopop instrumental whose warmth is tempered by the buried sample of a man seriously losing his rag, giving the piece a creepy feel. Three gentle instrumentals follow. “European Clarinet” sounds too much like the sax solo from Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” for its own good, but Chris Tenz’s gossamer-light guitar piece and Chaz Knapp’s short cello and piano tune are both excellent.
Other highlights include Unflower’s sprawling, eponymous epic – a fantastic slab of dark ambience. “Slow Bass Flute” could have beamed in from a seventies Cluster album. Gold Panda’s “Like Totally” starts out all scratches and birdsong, but brilliantly morphs into something that sounds like a pastoral Arab Strap. Eerie Days’ “Conscience” is a strong finish to proceedings. It’s a beautifully slow, sad ballad that would have graced the first Goldfrapp album.
Phantom Channel Presents..Part 2 is much more like a traditional compilation album with its up and downs, where the first had the feel of an expertly pieced together mix-tape. The worst tracks are more forgettable than actively bad, whereas the many highlights are superb. And you can get it for nothing, so what are you waiting for?
1 Loose Lips Sink Ships – No. 3 3:09
2 Shoosh – Pestilence 5:42
3 Engine7 – Tired of Losing 4:05
4 Mikkel Lentz – European Clarinet 3:02
5 Chris Tenz – I Thought I Was Passed This 4:42
6 Chaz Knapp – Delicate Goodbye 2:06
7 Hurra Caine Landcrash – He Who Leaves Her, Makes No Sense 3:10
8 Unflower – Unflower 9:48
9 Iconx6 – Substance 3:07
10 Elisa Luu – Slow Bass Flute 5:09
11 Konntinent – Anurk2 3:52
12 Gold Panda – Like Totally 2:31
13 Eerie Days – Conscience 5:18