Various Artists
Proud To Swim Home: A Backporch Revolution Compilation for New Orleans

Proud To Swim Home: 8 out of 10


by Sal Addays, foxy digitalis
Feb 2007

This is a compilation of (to me, at least) little-known artists from a New-Orleans-centered electronic music scene. Obscure, perhaps, but well-intentioned, inspired by Katrina and with all the profits going to charities seeking to assist in the rebuilding of the swamped city. It’s a pretty good listen, too.

The styles on display here are familiar, but assembled in intriguing ways. Chef Menteur and the aforementioned Potpie flow like early Nightmares on Wax, while King Ghidorah’s “Bring Me the Head of Michael Brown” is an appropriately scathing feedback/drone piece. Murmur, too, goes all Bowery Electric with “Secondary Fermentation,” but here’s a twist: it was actually recorded inside a (presumably empty) fermentation tank. The results are thick like the president’s head. Some seek more pop-derived textures, from the near-yacht-rock of Liteworks’ “Liteworks” to the ‘80s-style synth-pop of the Buttons. These surprise, but don’t grate, and they provide a respite from the sonic onslaught offered by the noisier tracks.

Later, things get more frantic, with Anton vs. Nature’s “Phase Change (blueridgemtn mix)” and the Uptown Cajun All-Stars’ “Bayou Teche” seeming to draw on a nearly Merzbow-ish chaos/noise aesthetic. But again, naturalism inserts itself: the metallic mental images “Phase Change” summons are deceptive, as it was recorded outside, with wildlife providing additional accompaniment. The disc ends with an uncredited bonus track that loops an infamous horriblism uttered by our most horribly infamous chief executive. Recrimination and dread could be the order of the day, even still, but credit these artists with trying to change course. 8/10

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