Published Aug 15, 2018First off, credit where it's due. Vermont's NNA Tapes is celebrating both its tenth anniversary and 100th release with this monster compilation of 66 previously unreleased tracks. Hard-copy buyers can expect six tapes housed in a ten-by-ten-inch brushed aluminum box.
Label runners Toby Aronson and Matt Mayer invited artists who've been associated with the label since 2008 to submit a piece. Clearly there's a lot of love for NNA.
As would be the case with any 66-track collection, Centennial is somewhat uneven. There's nothing altogether bad here — a few minimalist tracks that could be ungenerously described as simplistic. Better, given the occasion, to look on the bright side. Think of Centennial as a kind of NNA buffet. Pick and choose what you like — there is probably a solid double- or even-triple album well-suited to your tastes here.
There are plenty of highlights. Jefre Cantu Ledesma delivers a lovely guitar track called "Friends In Montreal; paired with a gentle beat, low in the mix, the combination is a perfect late-summer think piece. Caboladies' "Virginia" is the collection's first challenging work, lovingly warped, but easy to take in just the same. Jeff Astin and Raymond Reitano pair up on the funky, scratchy, sample-heavy "Beaver Builds." "Parallels 1" by Hobo Cubes is one of the album's more effective noise works. So too are Mike Shiflet's "Worcester, VT" and Keith Fullerton Whitman's "En la Parc de la Ciutadella."
Despite its patchiness, these and other winners should be enough to generate additional interest in NNA's catalogue. There's certainly plenty to choose from. (NNA Tapes)