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Various Artists: Wanna Buy A Craprak?

Album: Wanna Buy A Craprak?
Label: Carpark

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Wandering casually between icy abstraction and homey naturalism, New York's Carpark label has carved out a rich electronic-music niche by favoring ambition and modesty in equal measure. Over the past three years, the imprint has unearthed quiet near-wonders from around the planet, currying critical nods with albums by Casino Versus Japan, Takagi Masakatsu, Greg Davis, Signer, and Ogurusu Norihide, among others. Soundwise, the label ranges from spacey ambient-house to glitchy meditations to acoustic plinking. But the most impressive aspect of the compilation Wanna Buy A Craprak? is the way the Carpark catalog congeals into something approaching a shared aesthetic. Greg Davis' "Brocade" lays out the collective style in increments, running gently phased acoustic guitar against sighing pops that grow to show the seams of a programming loop. Even as process lurches to the forefront in tracks by Kit Clayton Vs. Safety Scissors and Marumari, though, Craprak holds tightly to the quilts and blankets integral to computer music's enticing isolation. From the sine-wave ambience of So Takahashi's "Blue, Blue, Electronic Blue" to the shuffle-beat electro ooze of Dinky's "No Love," Craprak presents what's less a command to stare down the internal architecture of technology than an invitation to float in the atmosphere it suffuses. All the gee-whiz wonder leads to a few twee toss-offs, but Craprak's sequencing offers welcome escape hatches by mixing up tempos and textures. Casino Versus Japan's "Aquarium" charts an overripe space ride, but Kid 606 resets the course retroactively with a tight, pulsing squeeze. Most of the compilation proves more intuitive than inventive, but Craprak's cumulative swirl casts cosmic aims and intimate bedroom musings as part of the same program.