Record label: Ism
Release date: 25 June 2002
I'm starting to think that the folks at Ism Records don't have "off days" in the studio. Pigeonholers beware: attempts to put anything on the Transitions compilation into a neat little box should be considered exercises in futility. Whether it's the futuristic waltz of Takuya, the sunshine-laced two-step of Mr. Magic, or the deep dub of Twilight Circus, each track is completely different from the others. Still the pieces fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, mapping out a clear destination with various travel routes all arriving at the same point. Hang a left at "Mahayana" by Lacarno & Burns - next school soul that defies categorization. Around the bend is "Shell" by Phoneheads: too slow to be considered drum 'n' bass, too self-controlled than its other breaks-laden counterparts. Rhythmic intrigue ensues, and you end up playing by its rules even though you have no idea as to what they could possibly be. And just off in the distance is Swingsett & J. Warrin's "Themes & Dreams," which falls somewhere between Detroit techno and a chamber orchestra. The moral of the story: don't define it, just feel it. Some things weren't meant to be put into words. Even while tongue-tied, however, Transitions never exceeds our mental grasp. If anything, it remains just a few steps ahead, enticing us back to where Ism has already been in order to set our sights on where this label might travel in the future.