[sic] Magazine

Various artists – The Silence Was Warm, Volume 3 (Symbolic Interaction)

Japanese label Symbolic Interaction has released some startlingly fine albums. With the recent release of this new compilation, and the debut album by manic instrumental outfit Hopeless Local Marching Band , Symbolic Interaction is ceasing activity for a while – probably so label boss Kentaro Togawa (Retail Sectors) can take a breath after putting out such a swathe of strong releases in the realm of electronica, ambient and post-rock. And what a way to end this period of the label’s existence.

The Silence Was Warm, Volume 3 continues the high standard set by the previous two volumes and takes it up a notch, creating my favourite collection in the series. Disc one, in particular, is excellent. The more ambient of the two, it’s mostly warm, beatless drones and atmospheres, whether Hakobune’s lovely ‘Shimokume’ or Taishin Inoue’s gorgeous ‘Dystopian Air Castle’, bookended by the skittering electronica of Melodium , the only artist that scores two tracks. Disc two is more rhythmic and bright in tone, with a standout track from Maps and Diagrams .

If you’re up for a spacewalk, pop on disc one; if you want to nod your head while riding the train, try disc two. Whichever way you slice it, this is a very strong collection of instrumental tracks. Recommended.