The sound of Apskaft is a collective of DIY avant-garde artists from all over the world. This compilation was inspired by the Residents’ Commercial Album from 1980 which included 40 minute long songs that the band then paid a radio station to play as “commercials”. In this the non-commercial album there are 14 artists playing a total of 59 tracks, all of which run for no longer than a minute.
To call this compilation eclectic would be a massive understatement! There are many styles and ideas explored across the album, all crammed into 40 minutes. As is the case with any concept compilation there are hits and there are misses! Some tracks work as brilliant self contained tunes that are short, sweet, and more endearing than your average radio advert. Other tracks show promise but their short duration prevents their full potential from being realised. While others still are brave experiments that just don’t work. Nevertheless the compilation as a whole works in a strange way with the various ideas racing through, many of which seem to finish before they even really begin, creating an unconventional but fun journey.
Peter David-Smith opens the compilation with tracks simply titles Unplugged and then amplified 1 – 5. The tracks all consist of experimental guitar sounds. Their short duration prevents any of them from developing into anything significant. As a result they become a collection of slightly curious sounds.
Hox Vox contributes 5 songs, each going for exactly 40 seconds. The tracks show up a mix of strange and somewhat chilling avant guard sounds following by some endearing electronica. All of which could work as a radio commercial at some level.
ibalam provides a diverse bag of sounds with starting with chilled out ambient sounds (Ghost’s opinions don’t mater) and following it with a mix of bizarre folky tunes (De Dumezt Doop Ponders and Bara Ett Uttryck) and creepy psychedelic sounds (A good old-fashioned brainwashing session and Jävla kojävel).
Toffeljagarn contributes the one song, being the early They Might Be Giant reminiscent Mr. Mole and the Ernst-Hugos. Going for less than 40 seconds it’s short, sweet, and extremely quirky.
Paritron contribute 5 experimental prog /electronic tunes full of various samples backed with some chilled out ambient textures. The 5 tunes could have easily be pasted together to create a very solid and interesting single piece but work well at showing off slightly different sounds and ideas.
The Res Band’s contributions sound like what a collaboration between Tom Waits and Trent Reznor might. Full of strange and dark industrial sounds and occasional deep vocals ending with the jazzy Spores.
Pearly Print produce a collection of cool and catchy instrumentals the highlight being the garage rocking Apskaft Jam that sadly ends way too soon!
Lurholm produces a collection of short and sweet pop tunes that sound like XTC crossed with They Might Be Giants. Each song is bright and infectiously catchy and all of them could be used as effective jingles!
Moses provides the 40 second Olika nivåer, sounding like the lead in to a Snow Patrol tune but cutting off before it takes off.
Super Afrikka provide four curious tunes each experimenting with various instruments with result being a collection of unusual and not really related sounds.
Turbogrind Terrorizers’ tunes work as a short story (through music) involving someone breaking in, setting up explosives and then escaping with each track representing a different stage of the story (Climbing the walls, Kill the guards, the dog attack, break into the lab and then arm and escape). Each painting a vivid soundscape to take you through the drama ending with a massive bang!
Drn Drn provide three raw and thrashing punk rock tracks in the vein of the Boredoms followed by two chilled out funk numbers.
Ditzky provide three experimental blues tracks each with some creating riffs and other quirky effects added on top.
Wierd Bananas close the compilation with two fast, catchy but very unconventional pop tunes.
This is a very brave and unique compilation that on the whole works quite well. Like any compilation there are highs and lows but the overall journey provides a lot of fun with no dull moments!
Check out the album’s bandcamp page to find out more!