Music Reviews



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Artist: DJ Trax
Title: 20,000 Beats Under The Sea
Format: 12"
Label: Tempo Records (@)
Rated: *****
I'm not sure if some copies of this item are still available, as Tempo Records announced a limited edition on 140g clear vinyl (including a voucher for the download of mp3s and a poster), but if you are a lover of jungle-tinged drum and bass, you should have a check. Dutch DJ and producer Fusion (the man behind the curtains of Tempo Records) managed to involve David Davies, better known as DJ Trax, one of the legends pushed decades ago by the likewise legendary Moving Shadow (but he left many footprints on the track of many other labels), who come back on Tempo after he already dropped three good tunes three years ago. A certain nostalgic hook that filled those tracks (check it out... it should be titled "Attack Of The 50Ft Amen") keep on imbuing this output, but Trax's is a kind of wise nostalgia as you'll easily understand by listening to the four tracks he made for the occasion. All of them features the previously mentioned Amen break (more or less refurbished, but clearly recognizable), but it's an element wrapping clues that recall this mental state. The quotation of the title of the well-known novel by Jules Verne in the title-track "20000 Beats Under the Sea", an adventurous track where some sonic clues of jungle resurface along the break as if they were hidden treasures covered by seaweed. It's funny the way DJ Trax control the amen break and other entities during the session of a hypnotist on "No Name" - when the voice of the sampled hypnotist invites to relax everything gets quieter, but check the storm of beats when he says to the listener (or is he hypnotizing the track indeed?) he/she/it has no name! The "jungliest" track of the output is maybe "This Station" (refrained by "Move the Nation"... another relevant topic of urban junglist movement!), while the wisest and the most thought-provoking moment is "Send Me back", the last track, where another movie sample (I guess it got extracted from a movie, but I can't recognise it) is a straight invitation to compare the current version of the century we're living and the one that many junglists maybe have dreamt...
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Artist: Fluorescent Heights (@)
Title: Strange Lagoon found At Nightfall
Format: Tape
Label: Constellation Tatsu (@)
Rated: *****
The remarkably listenable hissing of tape and the noises of someone handling a tape recorder mark the opening of this release belonging to the summer bunch of Constellation Tatsu. Each side lasts almost fifteen minutes and the sound explored by Fluorescent Heights is a so perfect suite for tropical "summer-sized" reverie that you won't imagine it comes from Sweden (even if Swedish are maybe the more "Mediterranean" people of Scandinavia), as you would be induced to guess it could actually come from an imaginary elvish settlement in Tahiti. The lo-fi exotic ambient that features this release could be described as something in between some entries of the so-called organic ambient of the first 90ies (I could mention projects like Entrancing Iris or Heavenly Music Corporation) and vaguely melancholic contemporary branches of minimal ambient, as it features variations of not so many sonic inputs: an overstretched quiet pad and some "bubbling" sounds that highlight and integrate the entrancing melodic loop in "Strange Lagoon Found At Nightfall" and a sort of relaxing aquatic hits grasped into an almost static tone on "Papaya 2" on the other side.
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Artist: DLX (@)
Title: Ain't It Funky EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Free Love Digi
Rated: *****
In the rich bunch of recent releases by Free Love Digi, this output by Drew Peterson aka DLK (Doctor Lazarus X) is one of the most amazing. Running over old and new rails (its sound is heavily influenced by the evergreen sonorities and the aural hooks of 90ies jungle) and into controlled chaotic storms of samples that could resemble soul, hip-hop and footwork, this mad dubstep scientist nestled four amazing tracks into this EP. The first one quotes the seinen horror manga Uzumaki by Junji Ito and the same-named track could remind those dumbing hairy spirals recurring in its crazy plot by abrasive synth-brass, whirling percussive sets and other elements that are going to wrap your ears in its invisible coils. The above-mentioned breadcrumbs of hip-hop, funky and soul are clearly listenable and well-blended in the deflected steps of "Ain't It Funky", while the cocktail this beat scientist serves chilled on "Gin and Catatonic" rattles behind chopped cuts and subtly growling sounds. The craziest moment of the EP is maybe "Predator Dance Battle Party", where DLX squeezes a set of clues that could fit a battle before filling it by an hyper fast-paced compressed rhythmical pattern, potentially causing euphoria or headache - depending on your mood... -!
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Artist: Seba
Title: Remix vol.2 (ft.Digital & Om Unit)
Format: 12"
Label: Secret Operations (@)
Rated: *****
Soon after the re-issue of his album "Return to Forever" (dating back 2015), Seba threw a couple of tunes to the hungry jaws of two beat masters, who managed to extract two great tracks by two likewise good hits. London-based DJ and producer Jim Coles aka Om Unit hones and laps the banging "External Reality" by an involving mid-tempo (anything but monotonous due to a series of variations and additions over the groove) and an engaging basslines spread through the gradual nebulization of some of the inputs of the original track. The treatment of "Day by Night" by Steve 'Digital' Carr is really stunning: he turned it into something that could vaguely remind those stunning hybrid of dance and industrial that blossomed in the late 90ies (I could quote "Brainfuck" by Swamp Terrorists to give you a reference) by spirals of strangling hectic rhythmical overlaps. A check of this second drop of remixes is recommended (together with the first one by John B and Blu Mar Ten, if you missed).
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Artist: Ārash Āzādi
Title: Geosonic Journeys
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Establishment
Iranian-born rash zdi brings his Persian setar training into play as a subtle, not-too-obvious twist on the more accessible side of electronica drone soundscaping and feedback layering. Synthetic metallic washes flow smoothly throughout over electronic bubbles and clicks. Soft industrial-ish found sounds occasionally arrange themselves into gentle rhythms. The Middle Eastern instrumentation is barely discernible at times as it’s so well moulded into the sound layout. If this is ‘geosonic’ then this geology is the fluid movement of lavas and molten materials, not the stable sound of rocks.

The opening two tracks “Entering The Realm Of Journey” and “Peyote And The Magnetic Beings” are relatively flat and structureless compared to what follows. The metallic tension is most prominent in “Circling Exhibitions In A Blackhole”, a slightly nails-down-a-blackboard element providing some genuine discomfort in the first half before the salve of a cinematic string melody makes the second half more palatable.

By contrast, “Water, Stones, Salvation” is a smooth lullaby melody with gentle bubbling, while “Back Home With Winds And Batteries” has a low soporific pulse to it under drawn-out calming chords. “Ascending From Underwater To Outer Space” has more than a hint of Tangerine Dream about it, in a good way, but a little busier and glitchier, making it slightly anachronistic in the middle of the album.

At six tracks and under forty minutes it’s a tightly realised and rich album that is, surprisingly, a little lacking in unique sonic character, but with a warm texture that’s still certainly worth hearing.
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