Music Reviews



Thomas B: Augmented Place EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Nov 15 2017
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Artist: Thomas B
Title: Augmented Place EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Free Love Digi (@)
Rated: *****
When I introduced the debut EP by Onism QI - the collaborative project by Quentin Hiatus, Ghast and Thomas B -, I omitted to say that a remarkable fingerprint on the sound of this project has been given by the last of the guys listed, Thomas B (real name: Tommy Brinson), as you can easily guess while listening to this recent output on Free Love Digi. Even if its dynamics don't show the same dynamics (particularly in tempo variations) of Onism QI, you could notice many similarities of the sci-fi sonorities explored in this EP. This aspect is mainly noticeable on the more experi/mental (and my favorite ones) tracks of the four ones included in this digital EP: check the opening "Significance" - its pattern based on claps and finger snapping and the way by which melodic elements gradually rises - and the closing "Augmented Place" - where you can notice that any ring added by Thomas B on the sonic chain makes it more and more involving -. Besides its sonorities, the hip-hop (or I'd rather say ill-hop, to use a label which was popular to describe this kind of experiments on hip-hop tempo in the late 90ies/early 00ies) oriented tracks, both "Straat" and "Tangible" are maybe too predictable and 'static' than the other half of the release.

Onism QI: Null Explodes EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Nov 15 2017
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Artist: Onism QI
Title: Null Explodes EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Free Love Digi (@)
Rated: *****
One of the main advantage of digital releases lies in the fact that even if new stuff is added to a discography, some release doesn't become totally unavailable, so that even if a new EP (title "Intelligent Life") by the collaborative project Onism QI (grouping together Quentin Hiatus, Thomas B and Ghast) has been announced, the one I'm going to introduce is not really obsolete. The opening track of this EP ("Null Explodes" is the debut release by Onism QI), "Fear Death Love", is a sort of electric mantra, boosted by a sort of otherworldly moaning, snapping fingers and a mid-tempo, that becomes more and more hypnotising, whose magic get highlighted by the amazing playing on pitch by these guys, who increase BPMs when the listener could expect a deceleration and vice versa. The tempo got stabilized on mid-levels on the following tune, "Patroller", whose dynamics is based on menacing sonic entities, crackling percussive noises and occasional computational stirring, and a mid-tempo features "MB", the lovely song sung by Matthew Cassidy, whose voice could vaguely resemble the (computer reshaped?) modulations by Sascha Ring (Apparat, Moderat). Last but not least, the amazing sci-fi cracking of "Meta Realm", which makes you think that there's a more serious just than a drum N bass project behind Onism QI... maybe the foundations of a newly enlighted mankind! Check it out!

Quentin Hiatus: Out Here EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Nov 14 2017
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Artist: Quentin Hiatus (@)
Title: Out Here EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Free Love Digi (@)
Rated: *****
2017 has been a very intense and prolific year for Quentin 'Hiatus' McFadden, who added a lot of good releases in his rapidly growing discography - I warmly recommend the tripartite album "I'm Neither Quentin Not Hiatus"if you missed it in the huge cloud of digital releases of bass-driven music -. "Out Here" is the EP, by which Quentin rides off into the sunset of this triumphant creative gallop over the year, that is drawing to a close. The first track of the five included in this EP winks at Juke and Trap sonorities in the first seconds, before unrolling mellow tunes. I'm not sure if the vocal sample that can be heard after a couple of minutes got grabbed by some radio shows or interviews of Dean Edell, a broadcaster and physician, who became very popular in the late 70ies/early 80ies for his radio show on KGO radio and his well-argued opinions against magical beliefs, pseudoscience related to healing methods and some surgical and medical practises (he was against circumcision, hysterectomies and so on). He was also one of the earlier supporters of the medical use of marijuana and other psychedelic drugs. The balance between liquid sci-fi pads, the slightly nervous beat and the title repeated by a soulful female voice on the following "Find Out" sounds like an invitation to the base to acquire an explorative mindset. The way by which Quentin organizes sounds in "Born Woke" looks like a dribbling between a sci-fi melody, electronic fibrillations and percussive elements that he manages to slot into the previous ones. The futuristic hip-hop and the meaningful lyrics of "Kryptomedic Rejection" (a link to the initial Edell (if I guessed references) precede the amusedly alien entrapping game of "Unexpected Guest".

Kalbata: Obskuur

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Oct 25 2017
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Artist: Kalbata
Title: Obskuur
Format: 12"
Label: Brush & Broom
African drum loops meet deep acid basslines in these two unusual slices of minimal instrumental techno. While the DJ-challenging time signature of “Obskuur” makes it more of a home headphone listen, the more conventionally structured “Rumoured” is more set-friendly and strongly reminiscent of mid-set tunes from Josh Wink.

While I’ll never reconcile myself to the fact that a 2-track 12” is now called an “EP” when there’s nothing extended about it at all, this is a solid pack of two multi-purpose tracks that are quite bold in their simplicity but very well executed.

DJ Trax: 20,000 Beats Under The Sea

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Oct 14 2017
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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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