Various Artists The First Annual Fundraiser: War Child
Good tunes for a great cause come courtesy of a new Glasgow label.
The charity compilation is invariably an effective means for allowing musicians to do their bit in support of whatever cause calls for it. In this instance, it’s the turn of fledgling Glasgow-based label Craigie Knowes, who will offer the totality of their profits from its first release to the War Child organization, in support of youngsters whose lives are affected by conflict.
As far as the musical side of the project is concerned, Craigie Knowes has succeeded in rounding up a wealth of house and techno’s poster boys to pitch in. Move D and Gerd Janson team up for “Taps Aff For Glasgow” (a situation that Move D has apparently found himself in a number of times in recent years); a fairly dark and stripped-back affair, it centers around a sluggish to-and-fro between two recurrent chords, and is primed for club use. Bicep’s “Malima,” meanwhile, is more emotional, building from choral echoes through to a climatic cacophony of acid sounds, before dropping back down again.
Some of the album’s best moments are also its most divergent. Daniel Waples’s hang-drum jam, “Djansa,” is projected through a cloud of incense haze. True to form, Lord of the Isles (a.k.a. Neil McDonald, a Scotsman himself) follows with the short but very sweet “Grafta,” a celestial jaunt among cascading broken beats. The Burrell Connection offers a slightly too over-the-top acid jam, “Acid Rapids”; ASOK’s “Toltec” is a more subtle and enjoyable take on the sound. Amir Alexander’s collaboration with Cecilia Bruun Hansen as the Binary Stars System is the most impressive contribution; with her alluring vocals echoing over an energetic bassline, “Kom!” really works. Neville Watson’s tribute to the charity, “War Child,” is also noteworthy, shifting with ease between tribal sounds and imposing synths.
The compilation is, on the whole, a success through its diversity, providing a pleasant assortment of differing takes on the genre. With the promise of more annual fundraisers, and a contribution from all future releases to War Child, it seems that Craigie Knowes are prepared to dedicate their energy and resources to making a difference through music—with some decent tunes in tow.