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Sunblock

Author: Ben Shepherd
Sunday, 1 January 1995
Sunblock has been billed, modesty aside, as the greatest Australian electronica album in the world ever. More of a pisstake than a legitimate quote, yet this tiny line on the albums equisite packaging may hold more truth than it seems. For it is, in my eyes, the best compilation of Australian acts, of any genre, ever. With 6 labels and 16 acts involved the potential for disaster is massive. What with problems with fluidity, consistency, and a general theme and direction for the collection of works. However, Sunblock holds it all together. Six different labels: If-, Ozone, Clan Analogue, Off World Sounds, Gulp and Angels Trumpet; and 16 different artists: Atone, RJH, Nutcase and Pappachubba, Artificial, The Telemetry Orchestra, Sassi and Loco, Friendly, Brewster B, Disco Stu, EK, Yummy Fur, Little Nobody, Sound Lab, URB, Castel and, phew, General Electrik, it is truly an exploration of the new Australian sound.

Credit must go to the man whose idea it was to attempt an album of such mammoth proportions, Mr. Martin Cooke, head honcho at Ozone Records, and a general doyen of local electronica. He took on the logistics of such an event and gave us a finished product worthy of knighthood. But it seems that all this was just good luck. "There are six labels involved with Sunblock, so it was up to each label to submit tracks it wanted to actually promote on the album I guess," says a clogged up Martin. "Fortunately, even though all the artists are of very different styles, it came together really well, it gelled really well. I think it also reflects the number of different styles the term electronica kind of promotes. It was just a fortunate thing in that it flows that well, its kinda the equivalent of a 70's concept album in some ways. It just has a nice ebb and flow and fortunately it actually captures every genre involved with electronica."

The concept for Sunblock was actually as a means of promoting local Australian talent over in the big bad continent of Europe. Labels were assembled, and the package was put together with the utmost care. Everything from the music, to the lettering, to the layout is flawless. Obvious really, you have to make something perfect because once its in the hands of the masses, they are going to judge it as hard as they can, especially the European market. But now its available in Australia. "The idea came about mostly because we smaller labels tend to help eachother out alot, unlike major labels, which are obviously always competing against eachother, we tend to help eachother out. We give eachother contacts, and details about overseas labels and we're not so much competitive with eachother we just try and help one another. And through the process of getting to know one another we discovered we all got along really well, and we thought 'why don't we work together towards one common goal', and that is to push our music as one force as opposed to being six little forces," states Martin. "The idea was originally aimed more at the European market than the Australian market, but once the album had been finished and the artwork completed, and the album tracklisting had been finalised and we got the finished packages done, we thought it was too good to just throw at the UK market. It was something we were very very proud of, and very very excited about, and we hoped that it might get a lot of people in Australia excited about it as well. So, yeah, it came out that way!"

Sunblock is exciting, all the artists represent a different facet of dance music. From the late night loveliness of atone, to the disco/acid of Artificial, the doom core of Brewster B, and the acid house meets rock hybrids of Yummy Fur, Sunblock does voyage many different pastures. It also does this without a hint of the commercialism of many other various artist compilations, and allows the listener to hear the radio friendly tunes of..er..Friendly, whilst also the haunted hip hop hush of Little Nobody. This is one of its greatest

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