Freescha - Freeschaland
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The duo of Freescha have been releasing music on a rather prolific pace now for almost six years. In that time, they've put out four full length albums, a slew of EPs, remixes, and a ton of compilation and internet-only tracks. Freeschaland is a whopping double-disc release that runs a bit under two hours and does its best to compile just about all their rare and otherwise hard-to-find tracks that they've put out to date.

If you've heard work from the duo before, you're not going to get too surprised by anything here. Floating somewhere between outright ambient and downtempo, they combine chilled-out instrumental hip hop beats with loads and loads of analogue synth puffs and slithery basslines. They're one of many bands who seem to have exploded out of the woodwork after Boards Of Canada dropped their seemingly earth-shattering Music Has The Right To Children, and they've managed to carve out a pretty good space for themselves in that area while never really veering too far away from their initial sound.

Disc one of the set collects early 12" releases and some rare online-only tracks that have since been long-gone. The quality of these tracks varies quite a bit, with some work that still sounds pretty darn stunning and others that haven't aged quite as well. The nine-minute "Bulb" hums with deep low-end warbles and some chirpy electronics that evolve nicely over the long running length, and "Lift" stuns with some organ-like synths that soar upwards over pitter-patter beats and sounds like what you might get if you crossed chill-out music with a church hymn. "Pequod" is another head-turner, rumbling with super-dirty synth lines and submerged orchestral groans that sound like some sort of soundtrack gone bad while increasingly chunky beats come to the foreground.

Elsewhere, "Smokestack" is wanky at its worst, a rambling eleven-minute piece that sounds like BOC rehashed (complete with seagull samples) and made boring. The second disc of the collection is where things become truly directed towards hardcore fans, as tracks dip into much more of a watered-down mellow-IDM feel while being interspersed with short promotional bits that don't really add a whole lot to the proceedings. In the end, Freeschaland is about what you'd expect from an odds 'n sods collection. There are a few gems, several okay tracks, and plenty of forgettable ones. Do you need this in your collection? I don't know, do you?

rating: 610
Aaron Coleman 2007-11-01 18:55:54