Boomkat is not exactly a record label. And it’s not really known for its compilations. But it is a famous online music store for all of your underground musical flavors, from dubstep to hip-hop to IDM and modern classical. Towards the end of 2008, Boomkat launched a sister site : 14tracks.com. Every week, 14tracks presents you with an installment of “hand-picked selections united by theme or genre, bound by a particular style, or with some kind of common narrative in mind.” Each compilation is available as a digital download (DRM free, 320 Kbps MP3s) priced at 99p per track or for £6.86 (approx. $11.25 in USD).
I initially jumped on the site when Boomkat presented their Best of 2008 releases in three installments of 14 tracks. Ever since, I’ve been getting weekly newsletter updates, and checking out some off hand selections that may be outside of my usual interests. On more than one occasion, I would discover an artist that way, and end up grabbing full albums. It’s been an excellent resource for opening up my horizons across the entire musical spectrum.
Some noteworthy past selections that I want to point out include “14 tracks: experimenting with bowed strings“, “14 tracks in the shadow of film noir”, “14 tracks of early electronic music“, “14 tracks of dark ambient“, and “14 tracks that make you wish you played the piano“. The latter collection, for example, features some of my favorite artists like Hauschka, Pan American, Harold Budd, Ólafur Arnalds, Erik Satie, Peter Broderick, Jacaszek, Goldmund, and many others.
This week, I again fall prey to the outstanding marketing ploy of Boomkat and add into my digital cart a compilation titled “14 tracks re-wiring UK Garage“. The selection of tracks includes some new material as well as rarities from Sully, Narcossist, Falty DL, Brackles, Groovechronicles, Millie & Andrea, TRG, Spatial and Peverelist. Representing labels from Planet Mu to Tectonic to Tempa and Infrasonics, this is an excellent collection of… well… UK’s finest funky garage. Here’s more from the description:
With dubstep increasingly split between bombastic rave/wobble workouts and far more feminine (and, for our money, interesting) variants, the line is getting harder to define between one sub-classification and another. Further up the chain, UK Garage itself incorporates a number of different bass cultures, flowing in and out of Jungle, hip hop and R&B and generating mongrel sounds from Grime to Dubstep, Funky and beyond. All of this is to say that the bass scene always has and continues to evolve at a rate that’s producing new sounds and splinters faster than anyone can even name them, despite the perceived malaise…
So forgive me for covering an unconventional medium today, but as the 2-step beat rides along the wobbly bass in my speakers, I feel compelled to share this great find. If you’re a fan of Burial‘s ghost-like vocals and light syncopated beats, then this is definitely a must for you. Also greatly recommended if you are not familiar with this genre. Point your browsers to 14tracks.com and enjoy.