Boomkat Product Review:
Luke Younger's Alter label limns the underground zeitgeist in ‘Alert!’, a compilation starring gems from Teresa Winter, Anna Peaker, Moin (Raime), Mumdance, Space Afrika, The Modern Institute and many more beside.
Entirely sourced from the UK, ‘Alert!’ could be heard as a reading of pre-Brexit or Brexit-limbo mindsets, if you’re that way inclined, or more simply as a cross-section of the UK corpus at the end of a strange decade. Either way, you’re going to get a lot of canny, unexpected gear, ranging from cold bedsit blooz thru to freeform techno, twitchy post-punk and modular n0!ze gristle.
We’re naturally drawn to highlights in Teresa Winter’s unpredicted techno pounder ‘A free woman in an unfree society would be a monster’, and also to a sterling example of Teresa’s sometime collaborator and Leeeds peer Anna Peaker on the elegiac organ etude ‘Helicidae’, while Space Afrika nest the tactile ambient fragility of ‘Yuly’, and Mumdance impresses with nerve-chewing modular freakout ‘Path of the Seer’ - big tip for fans of The Sprawl.
Elsewhere the quality doesn’t let up: Raime’s Moin and their drummer, Valentina Magaletti’s Tomaga, both turn out tuff, jagged post-punk steppers; Acolytes catch a properly febrile vibe in the blown-out gabber kicks and writhing electronics of ‘Feelings’; Helena Celle drops a playful stripe of computerised EBM; and Glasgow represents with a barrage of saltiness ranging from The Modern Institute’s scally techno banger to an apoplectic Apostille in ‘It’s Not Right’, and an absorbing oddity by sound artist and radio producer Mark Vernon.