FatCat Records' 130701 imprint has played a pioneering role in the development of today's vibrant post-classical scene. It has introduced the likes of Max Richter, Hauschka, and Set Fire To Flames, and has been home to Sylvain Chauveau, Jóhann Jóhannsson, and Dustin O'Halloran. With its 15th anniversary approaching in July 2016, 130701 is celebrating with the release of a compilation featuring 11 exclusive tracks - one from each of the artists to have graced the roster over the past 15 years, plus three new signings - Ian William Craig, Olivier Alary and Resina - whose first 130701 albums are each set to appear this year. Curated and compiled by 130701's David Howell, none of these tracks has previously seen a physical release.
Opening with the sumptuous textural shimmer of Olivier Alary's "Yangtze," the album moves through the poignant, prepared-piano and string sweep of Dustin O'Halloran's "Constreaux No. 2" and the wobbly solo piano lyricism of Dmitry Evgrafov's "Anthem" before taking a somewhat darker, more intense turn on Set Fire To Flames epic "Barn Levitate." A 10-minute track featuring members of Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Fly Pan Am, and others from the hyper-creative Montreal community of the early ‘00s, it is the first new SFTF material to appear since their sophomore album Telegraphs In Negative came out way back in 2003. Another new signing, Polish cellist/composer Resina's track "June" follows organically on from here, her solo cello swelling and slowly flowering through the frost.
Hauschka's "Quiet" dates from the Ferndorf album period (2008) and sees the German artist paring down to just his trademark prepared piano on this beautifully lyrical little track. French artists Sylvain Chauveau and Emile Levienaise-Farrouch are paired beside one another - the former's "NB" follows on in a shimmer of suspended guitar delay before Levienaise-Farrouch's "Alethia" dances through an echoing web of piano.
Max Richter, who released five albums with 130701 between 2004 and 2012, contributes the wonderfully unravelling "Bach Study," whose decay-shroud is echoed in Canadian Ian William Craig's too-brief gem, "Tender Fire" – Craig's classically trained vocal layered and processed through his customized tape to tape decks. The album ends on a stellar live recording of Jóhann Jóhannsson's "They Being Dead Yet Speaketh" (from The Miners' Hymns project), recorded with the Wordless Music Orchestra, conducted by Gudni Franzson for New York Public Radio. A glowering, stunningly executed 12-minute piece, it feels like a suitably epic way to bring down the curtain on a compilation celebrating a wonderful first 15 years for the label.