Machines in the Garden (Part 1 of the Cataclysm Singles) 
Artists: Various 
Label: Blacklight Records 

Blacklight Records, it seems, has signed some impressive bands and names in the industrial, techno underground scene and put out a fine compilation CD. Machines in the Garden is Part 1 of "The Cataclysm Singles," an ongoing series of CD compilations that points to current events as proof that these are the last days of mankind. Although, it would be unfair to call this an industrial compilation because of the diversity in the music represented on the disc, the overall mood of this CD follows the dark stylings of industrial music. 

The record takes one through a timeline beginning with the Garden and into the fall of man and then to the age of industry and technology. The CD sleeve puts it this way:  "Machines in the Garden represents the movement of mankind from "The Garden of Eden" to "The Garden of Technology," and how we stop at nothing to do so, destroying lives and polluting everything else on the planet." We can feel the record musically progressing from the Garden serenity to the curse of being thrown out of Eden,  as the beginning is smoother and weaves with less discord than later on. Ambient music from the group Caul caused me to think of the garden calm. Then, with the third cut, a distortion-influenced, sometimes danceable tune by Globalwavesystem, we begin moving into the area of the Fall and beyond, as the music picks up a harder edge and a more disturbing touch. Later, the listener is treated to more ambient music by Cradle->Grave  and a mix of industrial and noise from the masters of the genre, Blackhouse. Other stand-out bands include Torn Skin, Azure Skies, a cascading electronic ray by Killingtheoldman, followed by an apocalyptic, layered, scratching sampling piece by Aphorism. The rest of the songs are from a melancholy and melodic Thymikon, a dancing Doppel Kode, some disturbing din by The Reclusive Cypher, a pulsing  Powerlab, imaginative sampling by Dendrography, and finally, at cut number 99, a growling Twitch. Because of the different styles included on the CD, this is not the most intense industrial music I have heard, or the scariest, but it is far from the worst! I like the mix of the new bands with the older ones. The record is successful in the respect that the mix of bands and musical styles work. 

Because I like my industrial, electronic music edgier and more severe than some of what is represented, I am not wildly impressed, but I am mildly impressed with the record, and, fundamentally,  I am now familiar with Blacklight's stable of eclectic, electronic music makers. Electronic music lovers, take note of the Blacklight label and then seek this sampler out, or if you would like to check out some ambient, experimental dance and techno music, give this one a spin. I think you will enjoy it, as I have. 

By Tony LaFianza