Various Artists

Money Will Ruin Everything 2 (Rune Grammofon)

Digital downloads notwithstanding, there’s still a place for something beautiful that you can hold in your hand, and this much-expanded second edition of the Rune Grammofon label’s Money Will Ruin Everything 2 compilation is as much an art object as an offering of music.

Consisting of a hefty hardcover book swaddled in an elaborately folded poster/dust cover/obi and two CDs of previously unreleased material, it’s a luxurious overview of a label that started out promoting a rather minimalistic sensibility. But this complexity is appropriate: the Norwegian imprint’s catalogue has grown from icy electronic soundscapes and sombre ambient meditations to encompass psychedelic power trios (Motorpsycho), post-Hendrix jazz units (Scorch Trio), avant-folk fiddlers (Nils Økland), and even acts that could be described as pop, albeit pop from some parallel and far more interesting universe (the Low Frequency in Stereo).

What unites all these performers is their intelligence. Whether working with folk instruments or digital electronics, Rune acts seem compelled to transcend genre boundaries and to push against audience expectations. That should make the two CDs in this package a rather fractured listening experience, but the 25 tracks flow together into one seamless, if occasionally bizarre, sonic travelogue. And the Money book, most of which is given over to in-house designer Kim Hiorthøy’s remarkably subtle and varied artwork, is the perfect companion.

When you’re tired of what the everyday world has to offer, digitally or otherwise, label founder Rune Kristoffersen’s domain is an invigorating place to visit.