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coverpic flag Scotland - Full Moon 142 - 04/20/08

Various artists
Phantom Channel Presents... Part 1
Phantom Channel

The launch of new digital label Phantom Channel is truly something to get excited about. At a time when the sheer volume of music available on the Internet is utterly overwhelming, it's heartening to find reliable labels by which to navigate through the dross. Phantom Channel, run by Scottish music journalist Michael Henaghan, is barely months old but is already shaping up to be one to watch.

This compilation of ambient/electronic music is best classified alongside other masters of the genre Tim Hecker and Eluvium, such is the quality of the material. The whole feel of the compilation is remarkably coherent and unified thanks to intelligent sequencing, segues, and mastering by opening artist Engine 7.

A true indication of the excellence of this music is that my favourite track changes on almost every listen. At the moment I'm especially drawn to Parhelion's "Forgotten Outpost", which creaks and breathes like an abandoned farmhouse on a winter moorland, and the delayed piano symphony "Engulfed by Red Clouds" by Lethosomn. However, it's the penultimate track, Mosca's "Brand New Polaroid", that has me reaching to crank the volume knob every time so that I can bathe in all thirteen minutes of its fuzzy radiance.

If the individual releases by these artists are anywhere near as good as this compilation, this is going to be an absolutely stunning year for Phantom Channel. I eagerly await their next release.

[We've decided to file this review under Scotland because of the label's HQ, even though the artists hail from all over: UK, Canada, Australia, USA, ... - editor's note.]

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