Stefan Koopmanschap, Electronic Music World, 10 mai 2002

I have bought and gotten quite a few ambient/idm compilations lately. And of all these compilations, amongst which was the excellent ambient.02@hyperreal, I must say that this disc, The Freest of Radicals, stands out a lot. First of all, for its wonderful packaging (folded thick paper holding the cd’s within folded, thick paper sleeve within yet another think paper sleeve; only the inner paper is not printed, but the rest contains beautiful artwork). And second, because of it’s awesome journey into that which is, as I like to think, the “real” ambient alongside a few well-done rhythmic tracks.

Now No Type has been a well-known netlabel for it’s MP3 releases (they’re nearing the 70th release now!) and now that they ventured into the world of real cd releases there is no turning back. This compilation, consisting of 36 tracks spread out over two cd’s, is very varied in bringing lots of different stuff together on one compilation. It also holds a certain consistency in feeling, and in quality.

I must say I honestly don’t really know what my own definition of “true” ambient is, but this compilation comes close. It can be very varying though, because when you listen to, for instance, Tomas Jirku and his I Think I’m In Love, you will hear a bit housey beats. It is presented in such a way that it isn’t really house though. And to be honest, this is one of my favorite tracks on the first disc.

It is followed by very minimal glitch-crackle-pop-high-frequency experimental music that reminds of, for instance, dead+hurt.

Other highlights of this disc of the compilation include the glitchy and slightly noisey sounds of Eucci, the minimal rhythms of Claudia Bonarelli, the microsounddesign-ish sounds that accompany the minimal rhythms of Jon Vaughn and the do make say think-ish guitar use of Kanovanik.

The second disc (aka switch disc) starts out way more rhythmic. Well, that is after the Soundtest by Kalx. Oeuf Korreckt and Sluts on Tape both bring rhythmic tracks, and in such a way that it is quite accessible, followed by the sometimes rhythmic but very weird and experimental Knife Takes Blood by Octopus Inc. Alphacat goes way out into the more house/rave type music, yet in a very special way. My personal favorite of the whole compilation though is track by Books on Tape, called Baile Del Muerte. This track is simply amazing. Weird, yet accessible. fast, yet laidback. Very good. Other highlights for this disc are the weird glitchness of Dick Richards, the lushness of Headphone Science, the droning tension of themoonstealingproject and the harsh rhythmic microsounds of n.kra.

All in all, this compilation is something you must get if you like ambient, idm, experimental rhythms or anything in between!

… this compilation is something you must get if you like ambient, IDM, experimental rhythms or anything in between!