Assembly Music-Compo. Some Quality Comments

Written by Makke

I know a lot of shit has been thrown on the compos at Assembly this year, and I'm about to throw some more. Sorry.

At first I was stunned by the number of entries for the multichannel compo. 129! Of course this is what you can expect on a big party like Assembly. And there were probably a lot of crappy or low-quality-entries, as there are always some kids entering with some piece of shit and hoping to win. So I sailed on the digital-waves to to see if all the competing entries had been uploaded (the top 10 that is). I was pleased to see they were. (Creds to the guys for always being so fast with big parties!) I was also pleased to see that there were no mind-blowing huge files either. So I started the download which took about 35 min on my 33.6 modem. Nice!

Now I could start to enjoy the best tracks from our Finnish colleagues. I fired up XM-play to get a brief listen to all of the songs before checking them out in the trackers. And I got very disappointed. The first five songs I listened to were dnb or some sort of acid. And not very original either. What has happened to variety? Had no decent synth, pop, rave or techno tracks been turned in at all? Half the competing tracks were just orgies in distorted drum-loops, and little varied chords. Gha! Definitely not my taste!

"Oh, yea! Well, why should everything just be of your taste?! I mean, not everyone likes the style you like, right?!" you might say. I can tell you this. The style I like is Originality, Variety and Skill. If you don't like originality, variety and skill I guess you don't like the same music as I do. In fact I think you don't like music at all but rather have a nice collection of "Large tractors sounds"-anthologies, "I drive my taxi-cab"-records and "Let's build a skyscraper"-vinyls. What I'm trying to say is most of the qualified songs for the compo weren't very high-quality. In fact the only songs which I found to be original, varied and skillfully made, were the top three songs.

If Assembly is the "big international" party it wants to be I think this is outrageous! Is this the true cream of the European trackers? Is this the most competitive and talented compo we can come up with?

The amount of points given in the compo also says that the voters were less interested in the multichannel-compo than in most of the other compos. In the multichannel-compo only 9212 points were given in total, while for instance in the C64-music-compo 15410 points were distributed among the entries. Not quite what you would expect, right?

We fool ourselves year after year expecting the most of the big "important" parties such as The Party, Assembly and The Gathering. I mean, every year we get disappointed. Don't we ever learn? I don't say it's the party-organizers' fault. It's rather our own. We've come to expect too much. In the early 90's these parties had the top, revolutionary releases. But to be honest, there haven't been the same amounts of top scene releases on these parties for years. And now I'm talking about the compos in general, not just the music-compos, because they're actually the ones that have become "better" when it comes to pure quality of the sound.

We're stuck in a rut of expectations!

I may have had too big expectations on the music-compo at Assembly, but to be honest I don't think this music-compo can be compared to the one held at Remedy. And I don't say that because I'm Swedish. I say that as a musician and music lover. This music-compo isn't the big asskicking compo it was last year. I'll lower my expectations till next year, and hopefully won't get as disappointed.


P.S. I don't blame this on the musicians themselves, but rather those who picked the songs for the compo. More variety in styles! You could easily get the impression all sceners are drum 'n bass and acid freaks. Which I believe is not the case.