“Raw analogue house and most-wanted italo…” Compassion Crew talks us through his new compilation of rarities on Major Problems.
Compiled by Dublin producer, DJ and crate digger Compassion Crew, Compassion Cuts, Tapes & Acetates is a thrilling, vinyl-only collection of rarities, hunted down over the last few years.
It’s an eclectic set. In the label’s words: “Raw analogue house and most-wanted italo; 808 and vocoder jams, proto-house; dope synth workouts; private press gospel and some experimental tracks that just won’t be defined.”
Some of the tracks are just about impossible to find elsewhere, while others will set you back a small fortune (Admas’s Sons Of Ethiopia album, from which ‘Kalatashew Waga’ is taken, is currently going for $999.99 on Discogs).
We spoke to Compassion Crew for the inside story on putting the compilation together.
Roger Davy – ‘Brumes Sur Mars’
Everyone goes through their library music phase. Reasons being, its exotic worldwide spread of labels, cool cover designs and potentially unimaginably good music. This is a gem from that phase which I hold dear.
Big City Orchestra – ‘Kitty Push Here’
“Do you like pussy?” Das from Big City Orchestra informs me this talented girl has gone on to be quite famous in her current chosen field of expertise. Early electronics and tape manipulation are always nice bedfellows and this heartfelt ode to self love will I’m sure touch us all. This apparently is the correct title of the track, which may appear elsewhere under a different guise.
Olivier Rogg – ‘GE CH M7’
I just love this track. Those drums, some free jazz synth and soaring vocals at the end make it very special. Olivier was very open to be part of this project and I’m so glad he was. For any collectors out there looking for another prized possession, there is a box set of all five Mega Wave Orchestra LPs with signed lithographs by the artist H. R. Reimann.
Plustwo – ‘Stop Fantasy’
So, I got some bad news regarding a potential licensee not wanting to partake in the compilation. Shoot, gotta find a replacement. I’m doing some push-ups, listening to Bell Towers on Boiler Room and he drops this beauty. The track is signed within one week. I’m not sure why people bootleg this, because Giorgio is a gentleman and was extremely helpful in getting us the best masters available. I’m not a huge Italo fanatic, so big love to Bell Towers too for getting me out of a jam with this jam.
Admas – ‘Kalatashew Waga’
Ever search high and low for an item of unmeasurable brilliance only to have it present itself in the most familiar of places. Welcome Admas. A million miles off my radar but who somehow manage to drop onto my doorstep brimming with tales of private presses, a deep unmoving love of music and education, BBQ and rum. As rare as it is dope and as with all classics, sounds fresh decade after decade after decade.
Beatnik Love Affair – ‘Bow Wow’
I nearly sampled a bar of this for a project but it just didn’t feel right – I’m not fucking with perfection. Lex managed to find the original recording and did some restoration work for me too. Another fine example of the amazing, generous and talented people I’ve met along the way on this journey.
Henry Hektik & Thomas W. Sutter – ‘Infernal Jet Waltz’
What if Ron Hardy had gotten his hands on this 10-minute-plus jam? The timelines line up just about perfectly. Recorded in Berlin in the late 80s to cassette for the Berlin Diary series. This took a long time to track down the tape as it was only available directly from the artists, and – as is the case more often than not – the artists who you contact do not have masters or even copies of their own music.
Defuser – ‘Bouquet Of Weeds’
A digger’s dream: a box full of sealed private press LPs containing one of the dopest 808 and vocoder hook-ups around, pulled from a storage unit in Tucson, Arizona. Amazing piece of electro, and I love the vocal content too. Sealed copies are available with the compilation and a screen print over at the Major Problems Bandcamp.
Frak – ‘Uttoz Gives A Song’
Frak blessed us with permission. It’s the 20 year anniversary of this track this very year, which I can only describe as simply a masterpiece. Some added information from the men themselves: did you know Uttoz was a home-built synth/noise machine? It can be heard as a synth scream in the song. Frak suggested no payment for their involvement, just copies of the finished product. What wonderful gentlemen they are, and of course they will receive their share of profits in the same manner and terms as all involved.
Philip Jeck – ‘In Loving Memory (Walter Gibbons & Arthur Russell)’
A raw analogue religious artifact with a beautiful tribute to some founding fathers of this compassionate sound we chase. This may be the most contemporary track included, but instant classics make a mockery of time and space. To have Philip Jeck involved really adds another wonderful tangent for us all to enjoy. This track comes off the Trace CD, which was a collection of two-minute pieces from various artists.
Tetelestai – ‘Prologue’
And so it ends. I’ve a real soft spot for religious and gospel records, as you can hear the love and undying belief in every note and tone. The artwork on the LP is insane and slightly at odds with the music held within it, but sometimes that’s all part of the mystery.
Compassion Cuts, Tapes & Acetates is out now on Major Problems.