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Various – Music From Mathematics Selector Series One review

For those with an open-minded approach to electronic music, the output of Chicago’s Mathematics label has always been essential listening. While clearly steeped in the traditions of the Windy City’s famous house scene and the far-sighted electronic pulse of Detroit techno, Mathematics is just as likely to release something off-the-wall and interesting as straight-up jack or murky dancefloor bounce. Much credit should go to label boss Jamal Moss, better known as Hieroglyphic Being.

Despite operating around the fringes of the Chi-town scene for some 15 years, Mathematics compilations are few and far between. Sure, there have been the essential Music From Mathematics CDs, but little else. In fact, this non-stop live vinyl session from fellow Chicagoan Daryl Cura is in fact the label’s first official mix CD. That it’s something of a delight isn’t much of a surprise. Cura wisely uses the opportunity to touch on many of Mathematics’ disparate themes, and over the course of a spellbinding hour, picks and blends some real highlights from the label catalogue. There’s the bittersweet downtempo piano vibes of Bocca Grande, the future space-disco of Les Aeroplanes, a dash of Metro Area on Smack (Audio Atlas’ brilliant “Alaska”), touchy-feely techno and tech-house from Alessandro Izzo and Marcello Napoletano, sprightly synthscapes from Vagin Brei, and even a clutch of far-sighted floorfillers (the brilliance of Liverpudlian newcomer John Heckle). Oh, and indispensible space-jazz from Gentl3man.

It’s in parts delightfully melodic, achingly melancholic, indescribably heavy, thrillingly futuristic and unashamedly backward looking – everything great electronic music should be, basically. Cura’s mix is impeccable, and perfectly encapsulates what Mathematics is about. If you’ve yet to discover the label, it’s the perfect place to start.

Matt Anniss