“X” is a compilation to mark Filigran’s tenth anniversary as a label, offering up twelve new tracks from the label’s artist roster and reasonably well representing the label’s fairly open-minded approach to mostly-instrumental electronica, house, and the lighter side of techno and music for dancing.
4/4 beats are the order of the day, naturally. Diaspora Unit’s groove “Apollo” epitomises the steady groove, a bouncy electro bass running cheerily under bleepy arpeggios in an assured and feel-good manner. Highlights include the bright, filtered deep house of “Composure” from Lionne, which feels reliable and just the right amount of 90’s retro flavour, mainly thanks to the catchy “I wrote to you a Dear John letter” vocal sample that feels like it might get heard on dancefloors a fair bit.
Sonic diversity comes in the form of more curious tracks like “Acid Lee Hooker” from Mara, a truly atmospheric bit of cinematic Americana revolving around endearing guitar which transforms in front of your eyes, the drum sounds gradually structuring and layering up, adding Gene Krupa style more urgent rhythms until it’s almost entirely changed tone. A definite highlight. The quirky clockwork groove and thick vocal pad sounds of Oaks’ “Astera” and a juxtaposition of pulse-driven rhythm and jazzy keys in Philipp Stoya’s “Nastifui” are also notable.
However, some tracks are maybe a little lacking in energy for their own good. Filterwolf’s “Flash” feels like library or underscore music, on the borderline between chilled out and just a little lazy, while Mellowfelx’s “Goias” does at one point start sounding like deep house by numbers. Pixel82’s “Untitled Love” feels a bit flat structurally, but is rescued by some delicious synth and brass stab sounds.
It’s a strong compilation that sets out Filigran’s stall very nicely, and offers up over an hour’s worth of subdued and interesting beats.