Although no longer the economical solution they were back when we still had to buy records, label samplers in the age of copious amounts of free music have become indispensable once again for a slightly different reason — to combat paralysis of choice.
“Shiori Sampler,” the 60th release from prolific Japanese netlabel and tableware brand (seriously) Tanukineiri, seeks to catalog a cross-section of the massive collective’s diverse affiliates, and does so very well. It only features an overlap of two artists from the label’s previous sampler (electro-house DJ House of Tapes and “folktronic” multi-instrumentalist Yasuhiro “Guitarsisyo” Wada), while the rest of the songs are all drawn from a wide variety of newcomers. With a combined 28 tracks across two “books,” and without double-dipping on any single artist across its selections, there’s a lot on “Shiori” to sift through — and, luckily, it’s very good.
About half of the music on “Shiori Sampler” is bedroom-producer electronica, with mostly-acoustic instrumentation taking up the other half. As easy as it would have been to have the two “books” split into “electronic” and “acoustic,” the label instead intermingles the styles and has the two halves sorted by theme — the first half being “Outer Space” and the second being “Inner World.” Although the themes are rather loosely interpreted — it’s rather unclear what, say, the karaoke-booth kitsch of Nippon Tanuki Club’s “Tanuki Zanmai” has to do with outer space — the selections have a good flow to them, and high points are plentiful. The contributors to “Shiori Sampler” put their best feet forward and the label is kind enough to provide links to Soundcloud pages and personal sites for everyone involved — making it as easy as possible to find something new to like in the face of overwhelming choice.
“Shiori Sampler” is available for download via the Tanukineiri website at www.tanukineiri.net/home/records.