Eskimo used to be one of my absolute favourite labels but in recent years times have changed... Being a music label in the digital age feels more difficult, particularly when your bread and butter was focused on the kind of obscure DJ mixes that often get traded for free online these days (without having to tackle any of that pesky licensing work).
Eskimo are currently primarily focused on their series of colour inspired collections, which kicked off with The Pink Collection, which was focused on feelings in music. The press release makes no particular claim for a theme here and in reality The Green Collection feels like a direct continuation of the styles featured on the previous two albums (Blue being the other, second, release), rather than a new movement.
So The Green Collection boasts a myriad of soft-focused Scandinavia-inspired electronic pop and dance music, eschewing the eclectic styles Eskimo were famous for in favour of something far more restrained. And when it works it is wonderful... Great Things, by Horixon featuring Jacques Teal, is softly spoken warm ambient pop of the highest order. It is what Prince might sound like if he spent 34 years floating alone in space, hushed vocals rubbing up against subtly twinkling synths and dramatic pads. Satin Jackets and Patrick Baker achieve something very similar on album closer Fall Apart - a beautifully considered moment of electronic introspection that represents one of The Green Collections' exclusive tracks.
There are some interesting darker moments too. A strong sense of melancholy runs through this album, to the point that in our current autumnal setting in the northern hemisphere it set me up for a fairly introspective Monday, but you can't criticise some of the depth here. On Found My Place Alexander Skancke and HEwrote create an organic and atmospheric slow-burning folktronica record, full on this season's feelings of introverted tranquility and feelings of transition.
But The Green Collection suffers just as the Pink and Blue collections did - through a lack of consistency. For every genuinely interesting track their are two that feel like phoned-in moments of generic cosmic Ballearia. You can keep the spaced-out piano of Kraak & Smaak's Ghostnote and the chugging electronica of Duncan Gray's Beeech: there is no real life there.
Pick the five best songs from this set and you have a representation of what makes Eskimo great: they can select some terrific music. Sadly the remaining seven represent their biggest flaw: they have no real idea what the difference is between those great standout moments, and the plodding filler. When their mixes were curated by a series of known names there was perhaps more of a sense of accountability - Ivan Smagghe, Radio Slave et al had their names right their on the cover. On The Green Collection I just can't help but feel like no-one really cared enough about any of these albums.