Various Artists 

Force Majeure (www.four09.org)

Even though they consist largely of unassuming white guys and their laptops, IDM and progressive electronica can be among the most intimidating of genres. By incorporating fractured beats, heady time signatures, and all manner of unidentifiable sounds, the music challenges listeners to find structure in something that can initially sound like a sped-up game of Pong.

But on their second compilation, the folks at Cleveland art-music collective 409 make forward-thinking electronica increasingly palatable. Though the tracks span everything from Systm's palpitating glitch to Masaru's space-age dissection of hip-hop, what unites all seven performers here is their knack for introducing melody into even the most knotty and challenging pieces. Highlights like Mmodule's sonorous, cinematic soundscape "Three M Anthem" as well as the R2D2 disco of Makeup and the Vanity Set's "Aceetalophalus" manage to be both intricate and infectious. With 22 tracks and over an hour of music, this is an ideal primer to one of Cleveland's most ambitious troupes.

More by Jason Bracelin


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