Artist: Various Artists 
Label: 4AD Records 
Time:10 tracks/51:13 

Back in the 80's, 4AD had an excellent reputation for supporting bands who were on the edge artistically--bands like Dead Can Dance and the Cocteau Twins--but in recent years they've not been so high profile, and a number of bands have either left the label or split up. Despite that, this sampler contains some pretty cool stuff and shows that 4AD is still a force to be reckoned with. The opening track from His Name is Alive is gorgeous, in a bluegrass mould, with clear female  vocals. Scheer's acoustic contribution, The Hope Blister's track, (reminiscent in a way of older, ethereal 4AD acts), Lisa Gerrard (presenting  the most classically influenced track from her latest album),  and Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses) are all notable. On the other hand, the Thievery Corporation's song, "The Foundation," with its techno base and various samples, can be rather tedious. That's the nature of samplers. No real hint to the spirituality/theology of the artists is given, save in the refrain, "Don't you know Jesus died," which crops up in Kristin Hersh's "Gazebo Tree" (and this doesn't seem to say much in its context). However, this is still one of the best samplers I've heard in a long time. 

By James Stewart