Various Artists - Pyre [Cold Spring Records - 2016]Cold Spring's dense and varied catalog allows them to put out low priced samplers of current and forthcoming releases pretty much every year. 2016's Pyre is no exception, boasting 15 tracks of new noise, industrial, dark ambient, and more. With a well known roster and a great price tag, this compilation is a great add on to any Cold Spring order.
Readers of MusiqueMachine will be very familiar with the artists spotlighted on Pyre, and more than likely familiar with the tracks from releases that have been reviewed here. Great releases by Troum, Khost, Sutcliffe Jugend, and Common Eider, King Eider have been written about on these very pages, and the songs still stand up when taken out of context and mixed with those of their label mates. Cold Spring puts out plenty of new music each year, so this compilation is a great way to get caught up on some that may have been missed, as well as getting a glimpse on forthcoming releases. Hearing tracks from releases I was curious about, like Tenhornedbeast, Coil, and Sun Ra/Merzbow, have given me insight into these albums and whether or not I should take the plunge. I haven't been too into anything new Merzbow in quite a while, and even though "Granular Jazz" isn't particularly my cup of tea, it has a fairly Tauromachine under current that kept me interested. Enough to purchase? Probably not, but I am happy with the five minutes on display on Pyre. More importantly, for me, are the three tracks from upcoming Cold Spring releases. Having had no previous knowledge of La Breiche, hearing the title track from the upcoming Le Mal Des Ardents has me very curious and considering a purchase. The same can be said for the dark and very grim entry from Trepaneringsritualen. Low, creepy, and undulating, this is a very great teaser for their new release. Lastly, we finally get a peek (an ear peek, I guess) at the new Skullflower album that has been on their site for a long time. "Furfur" is unmistakably Skullflower. It may be a tad on the dull side, but as their last few albums have been better experienced whole, I'm not going to let that dissuade me from purchase.
Another great, cheaply priced entry in Cold Spring's long line of compilations, Pyre showcases late 2015 and 2016 releases really well. The tracks are arranged in a way such that each stands out from those around it, but still feels part of the whole. While the shipping may keep this from being a standalone purchase( for those outside of the UK), this would be a great addition to any Cold Spring orderPaul Casey