Modestly recorded in the living room of a house in Leith, Vol.4 of Song, by Toad Records‘ Split 12″ series features four different artists: Digitalanalogue, Supermoon, Viking Moses, and Virgin of the Birds. The result is an introspective record, full-bodied, crisp and fresh on the mental palate, with hints of folksy ambience that leaves a pensive, yet hopeful aftertaste. However, as it is a collection from different artists, by its very nature it is uneven, and resultantly there is good and bad to be noted here.
There seems to be a concerted effort to create sounds that strike a chord of relaxation and tranquillity, and while for the most part this is how the listener is affected, after some time the unchanging tempo and occasional dreariness can get wearing, and some might find their hands wandering to the TV remote.
There is also an issue in that some of the songs appear to have no sense of direction or an end goal; they are a static collection of sounds. For some, this can make a frustrating listen, while for others it can be desirable, depending on your personal taste and current state of mind.
On the positive side are some of the more nuanced songs from Digitalanalogue and Virgin of the Birds, the latter specifically commendable for the textures of the electric guitar which ring out, echoing and stuttering, while the former carves out its place as the more abstract and experimental artist of the group, having the distinction of closing the record with the almost Sigur Ros-esque I’m Taking the Long Way Home.
All in all, this is a solid compilation, and having emerged from a small independent music label, it deserves to be praised for its originality and organic sound. Featuring a completely different set of artists, Vol. 5 is set to be released in November, and if it is anything as colourful as this current Vol. 4, then there is much to be encouraged about.