Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5
When this compilation came out, I was DJ'ing at the University of Georgia and had some serious label love for Emperor Norton Records. They specialized in quirky, rubbery electronica and reissuing some of the albums that inspired it. I always tended to grab the CDs with their mark, and this one just happened to be in the free bin. I'm usually not a huge fan of the 'various artists' sort of set, but this one has always done it for me.
Arling and Cameron has the greatest presence here, They'd recently released an album of fake soundtrack music, which is represented by the Esquivel-by-way-of-Paris "Le Flic Et La Fille." Some remixes of tracks from that album also appear here, with Fantastic Plastic Machine's original mix of "Take Me to the Disco" trumping the album version, while the remix of "1999 Spaceclub," while entertaining, does not match it's album brother. Speaking of fake soundtracks, you'll hear a bit of the non-existent 'Logan's Sanctuary' with "Metropia." In the 'real soundtrack' department, there's an alternate version of Air's great "Playground Love," recorded for 'The Virgin Suicides,' lurking around here. For playful blasts of retro-electro-psychedelia, DJ Me DJ You's "Set the Controls" should hit the spot, and Takako Minekawa gives us a nice image of Bjork passed out in a Shibuya gutter with "Fantastic Voyage" while simultaneously referencing Lou Reef's "Walk on the Wild Side." Some oldies but goodies show up with a bit of homemade synthesizer guru Bruce Haack in the form of the kids' song "Upside Down," and Walter Murphy's "Dancin'" is ambiguously destined for an educational film of a sort-core adult movie- it's really hard to tell. And let's not forget, "Citroens 'n' Sitars" has sitars! Yay!
The Emperor Norton story is a tale that I think everyone might have forgotten. But I remember it, dammit! It's a little goofy at times, but I find it charming. In the top 40 of my mind, Arling and Cameron, DJ Me DJ You, Fantastic Plastic Machine, and Takako Minekawa were superstars!