“Out there, at strange hours of the day and night,
are strange young men, pawing at strange instruments
and even stranger pieces of equipment, and now you
can hear what they’ve been up to.”
Swet Drems is an electronic compilation from the intriguing Dublin-based music and art collective Wonderfulgood. When it first emerged on the internet in June of this year it seemed very fitting that the sun was shining because the music on Swet Drems often glitters like beams of light bouncing off a chlorine-blue swimming pool. This is an alluring collection of songs from an array of sublimely talented Dublin producers, each with their own distinct styles which somehow merge pleasantly and warmly into cohesion (and I think “warm” is a very fitting word for describing the vibe from the compilation as a whole). And so now the sun is out once more, even though this is months after its release, it is time to consider this track-by-track (because that seems the best way to deal with a compilation).
Opening with the rippling sunshine prettiness of Enda’s ‘Lost iPod’ it drifts seamlessly into the gorgeously immersive swathes of Flann’s ‘This Is The Sound Of’ (that seems at times to recall UK garage with its airy, shuffling beats). There’s the squelchy strangeness of DJ Embarrassing Dad’s short but very sweet ‘Sleeping in the Bag’ followed by the aggressive, seductive intensity of Ickis Mirolo’s fascinating ‘Laughing Crow’.
Guns’N’Roses somewhat unexpectedly get a nod in DRUGSCHOOL64’s ‘November Rain’, an amusing, surreal but kind of excellent electronic medley of the band which sounds a bit like a sophisticated number from the Mariokart soundtrack featuring one beautiful moment of steel drums (which are always, always the right instrument for any occasion). Zayfontaine’s ‘Got To Have Your Loving’ is deliciously funky, Hot Cops’ ‘Pool Scene’ boasts some seedy saxophone and crepuscular sounds, while the second track from Flann, ‘Russian Number Station’, is pleasantly dusky with a kind of Gameboy soundtrack type of breakdown.
There’s some sampling of Modjo’s ‘Lady’ on another track from DJ Embarrassing Dad which – perhaps because I know the original so well – seems a bit too choppy but it’s got some nicely ornate percussion at the end. Those familiar with Dublin’s music scene might well already know audiovisual pair CLU, and their track ‘Templar’ here is strange and beautiful, and is certainly a stand-out moment with its tranquil, intricate, slowly syncopated sounds. Rosbeg’s ‘E-mu’ is oddly engaging with its slow, swirling mazes of synth and final track ‘Neiva’ by Dendito has a sparsely urban feel, slowly melting into softer, warmer territories with smooth beats rippling through like a heartbeat.
As a showcase of the electronic production coming out of Wonderfulgood – particularly alongside the enigmatic accompanying artwork for each track by artist Liam Morrow – it is certainly as strange as it promised to be; and that’s kind of it’s charm. Swet Drems offers weird, otherworldly sounds from a variety of Dublin artists and while it’s probably not going to change your life, there’s something oddly nourishing about listening to it. It would seem (and I am only slightly apologetic for ending this way) that Swet Drems are made of this: