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Various Artists - Bacterium

Bacterium is the first compilation from the Australian label Adeptsound and it's a good one. Based around the concept of bacteria, the compilers Tim Mayes and Steve Cammack dig deep into the underground to bring together veterans (DDAA, Column One, Dieter Müh) with a whole bunch of newcomers. The varied strains of experimental industrial are covered here from noise excursions through industrial ambience to those that straddle both. It's an uncompromising listen that's certainly worth the effort.

On the noise front Maison Close whip up something of a noise blizzard set against layers of crunchy electronics offset by the increasingly panicky outbursts of a distressed female. Josef Nadek, meanwhile, opts for short layered bursts of harsh grating noise. There's a compositional edge to Maison Close and Josef Nadek when compared to the full on brutal power noise of Praying For Oblivion which is thankfully cut short with its abrupt ending.

Bacterium is particularly strong on industrial ambience with some engaging tracks from Dieter Müh, Schuster, The Psychogeographical Commission and Mnem. 'Bacteria 2' from Dieter Müh is an impressive live recording from early 2010. Opening with scraping bowls and an incessant throb it soon settles into an uneasy ambience with reverbed singing bowls and crackling tones. With the departure of Dave Uden I was uncertain whether they would continue as a solo act under the auspices of Steve Cammack but with the assistance of Simon Kane Dieter Müh, a band I have long championed, continue to deliver the goods carrying with them the hallmarks of old school industrial. Schuster is Tim Bayes, an early member of Dieter Müh circa Black Square and his contribution 'The Scattering Of Bones - Place & Call (Klebsiella)' is a fine piece of occultic ambience with a still atmosphere punctuated with growls and micro-detailing of sound. Good stuff and I'd be keen to hear more. The Psychogeographical Commission are no strangers to viruses their latest album Patient Zero imagines the effects of a solar virus on a cities populous. 'Pathogenic Suspension', their contribution here, deals with bacteria which form a parasitic association with the living. It's a turbulent instrumental of twisted electronics sounds and eerie ambience showing a more dark ambient side to this excellent project. Finnish industrial experimentalists Mnem offer 'Invisible Organism' an otherworldy creation of gritty tones mixed with subtly crafted looped sounds.

German industrial stalwarts Column One don't appear to get caught up in the concept of the album. Their strangely titled 'Cindy, Loraine & Hank' offers sample ridden beaty textures wrapped seemingly around what appears to be a deconstructed dub record. 'Verdeter' from veteran French outfit DDAA use an old piece of Victor Hugo writings about earthworm. They've always been a strange proposition and this track based around gruff vocalisations and scraping violin strings and electronics, with little bursts of harmonica does little to change my opinion.

From the gritty industrial ambience of the opening track from Cheapmachines that is conversely soothing and harsh as analogue electronics get swept up into a gushing drone to the closing sample ridden electronica of Sevan Oh it's clear the compilers have put a lot of thought into the running order of Bacterium. Adeptsound have secured a lot of good material here. It does what good compilations should do: presents solid contributions from established artists with plenty of intriguing tracks from the less well known. Bacterium is released in a 4 panel digipak with 12-page booklet and a hand-numbered postcard. If post-industrial still means anything to you then this is well worth your time. Spread the virus. For more information go to