[sic] Magazine

Various Artists – MMM050

I can’t speak for record sales, but Make Mine Music has been on the ascendancy for some time now. Much has been made of their approach to running a record label and their story is both heart-warming and inspirational. Creatively too, the last few years has seen MMM, in this reviewers opinion, reach a creative peak, notable on excellent releases including Epic45’s ‘May Your Heart Be Your Map’ and the Yellow6 double-disc “When The Leaves Fall Like Snow”. This compilation serves to celebrate the label’s 50th release – a remarkable feat achieved without any outside investment, overheads or, indeed, staff. An idea that might have seemed strange 5 or 6 years ago now looks very, very clever indeed and I’m sure other imprints are casting envious glances in MMM’s direction (check out our Label Focus article).

Label stalwarts Epic45 , Portal and Yellow6 feature prominently here alongside some interesting pieces from lesser known acts. Although disappointingly, there is no room for recent signees Le Chat Blanc Orchestra or Library Tapes . Of the older guard Epic45 , about to embark on their 10th anniversary, are easily one of the most inventive acts around in the UK at this moment in time. They’ve purposefully honed their sound from album to album until it is completely recognizable as their own. “In All Empty Houses” encapsulates everything that is wonderful about them; the woozy melodies, the ghostly harmonies, the subtle production and programming touches and their excellent songwriting skills. Yellow6 delivers more of the same with “Day In Pripyat”, his forlorn, isolated guitar style makes for a truly beautiful piece, while Portal seem intent on reaching the heavens with the angelic trip-hop of “Prana”

Of the newer MMM acts, All Sides particularly impresses with the slow-burning “Marathon”, as does the quirky indietronic style of Schengen , while Avrocar’s dark electro-pop track “Two Silver Czars” more than holds its own. Of course, compilations are very much open to interpretation. What is one man’s fool’s gold is another’s treasure trove and listeners’ favourite tracks are likely to differ as much as the eclectic nature of this compilation. While the music shouldn’t and doesn’t play second fiddle, the real story here is Make Mine Music’s DIY triumph over the over the ever-widening pitfalls of the music industry. Now that they’re “shouting more loudly”, it’s time to pay attention.

Make Mine Music Label Focus