Various Artists
Venusa XX : An Electronic Collection of Femina Vox Part II
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola

Volume II of the Venusa XX series once again delves into the female voice from the electronic realm. Initially, some grumbled that a few of the bands featured here are male bands who utilized a guest female vocalist for the CD inclusion. Others were miffed that it somehow appeared to be condescending towards female artists. On what grounds this condescension was evident is still a mystery, but I digress. Whatever side of the fence one is sitting on, there is no mistaking that this is a rather mighty fine collection of female focused electronic work. It is easy for many to complain about any number of releases for a plethora of reasons. Experience has demonstrated that those who make the loudest complaints buy the least amount of music in the first place. Those who want to change things need to put their hat in the ring and do so. Otherwise they can forevermore shut the hell up while those that are willing to DO something constructive in the music world can continue to do so. With that in mind, kudos is given to Alfa Matrix for continuing with a series that gives homage to the many hard working women in the electronic genre. 

In light of the fact that the electronic realm has been decidedly more male dominated, this compilation highlights the contributions of some of the women within the genre working towards creating a new niche.  Coming off the mini-soapbox, what we have here is a collection of 32 female dominated electronic club hits. 75% of the featured material is either new or unreleased mixes that were unavailable before now. 

With so many songs featured, it would be cumbersome to read a mini-review of each track and probably have my editor running after me with a machete for creating such a long review. Suffice to say, the work represented here crosses many roads from the club friendly to the more sedate electronica that is within the realm of the trancey/goa style that is becoming increasingly popular in some locales. Some of the tracks veer into a more synth-pop style as well, so don’t expect this to be a collection of growling females full of angst. In fact, the emphasis is on clear, talented vocals that enhance the music. The voice from the feminine perspective remains the primary focus and everything else falls in line right behind it. This in itself is a treat since so many male electronic artists feel the need to scream and growl like caterwauling banshees. While that Drano-vocal may appeal to some, it simply leaves this reviewer unenthused for the work. 

Admittedly, I am a major fan and consumer of very few electronic artists, such as The Azoic, The Razor Skyline, Backlash, Regenerator, Magenta, L’ame Immortelle, and Bel Canto.  As stated above, many of the male vocals that snarl and screech may be popular with the hormonally defective, but around here, their guttural growling angst is far from entertaining. For those who find electronic music distasteful for the same reasons, take heart. This compilation beautifully focuses on talent in the purest sense. The electronics are well done and the vocals are sublime as well as seductive. The collection has the ability to make you want to dance, make love and chill out, all at the same time. 

The majority of the artists presented on this compilation have continuously created a stir with DJ’s and underground music fans all across the globe. Most of these bands should be familiar to underground music consumers and club patrons at this stage because their presence has become rather large in many circles. Readers who belong to any number of e-lists where the dj’s present their playlists will also note the growing popularity of some of these bands as well as the growing phenomenon and status of some others. While some e-groups have presented the notion that some of these bands merely utilized a female guest vocalist, I cannot say with utmost certainty.  Outside of the groups listed above where the female voice is almost exclusively utilized, one has to take the word of the fans within the genre. Whatever the case may be, guest vocalists or not, the project works well. Those who did utilize a guest female singer may want to consider doing so with a bit more frequency because each track is, without question, a labor of love. 

In the final analysis, there is a little of something here for everyone. Heavy “oontz” dance beats along with trancey and spacey effects and dark electronic fusions can all be found within this 2 CD set. If your taste runs along the lines of electro-dance music, it is worth your while to seek out this gem of remixes and unreleased tracks. 

Disc 1:
Client: Client (original mix)
Pzycho Bitch: Big Lover
Niowt: Loverboy (dance mix)
Backlash: Blind
Spray: Heatwavers (7” mix)
Regenerator: Cauterize
Chandeen: My World Depends On You (Neikka RPM Mix)
Mnemonic: A Day On My Own (feat. Tekita)
Hungry Lucy: Storm
Bel Canto: Iadonia
Frogpad: Lessons of Faith (Bifrost Mix)
Male or Female: $in$
Magenta: All Over (Epsilon Minus Mix) 
Chiasm: Phobic
L’ame Immortelle: Judgement (Epsilon Minus Mix)

Disc 2 
Lunascape: Second Skin (Hungry Lucy Mix)
Theatre of Tragedy: Envision (Conetik Remix)
Transmutator feat. Chris G: The Lover 2 (radio mix)
Implant: Gateway
System 22: Illuminate (radio edit)
Sabotage?: Who Am I (at all mix)
Nebula-H: Twilight Zone (feat. Eaven)
The Azoic: Conflict
Aiboforcen: Give Me These Wings (Flight Mix)
Massiv In Mensch: Offensivshock (Epsilon Minus Mix)
In Strict Confidence: Engelsstaub (Implant Mix)
Infrastructure: Alpha Plus
Krometekk: I Adore U
Neikka RPM: Closing In
Plastic Noise Experience: Gar Nichts
Epsilon Minus: Ocean Floor

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