Music Reviews



Alis: Sai / Strong

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 25 2017
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Artist: Alis
Title: Sai / Strong
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Infinite Machine
Alis’s first release on Infinite Machine is a pair of dark slices of electronica with the sonic palette of deep techno and rhythmic patterns that crash together dubstep attitudes with faster and glitchier elements. Over the thumps and long deep bass notes roll sci-fi style pads and atmospherics.

The decision to hold back the “ayyyayyyayyy” vocal until the end of first track “Sai” is an unusual and successful one. In multiple phases but flowing neatly, it’s a melting pot of off-techno generating an environment that corresponds well with the deep blues of the release artwork.

“Strong” adopts a steadier, more industrial four-four approach to its beat, with a strangely catchy organ riff and some actual, albeit hard to make out, vocals with lyrics. The smart key change around the two minute mark draws you in and although it does then tail off somewhat, it’s still a track worthy of its title.

It’s a confident and rich release and definitely a strong advert for other releases from Alis (Sabina Plamenova) both past and future.

Seba & JR Vallo: -15/Bon Voyage

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 20 2017
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Artist: Seba & JR Vallo
Title: -15/Bon Voyage
Format: 12"
Label: Secret Operations (@)
Rated: *****
Just before the anniversary output related to the first 15 years of the label, Seba's imprint Secret Operations dropped this delicious tidbit, one of the fruit of the recent collaboration between the mastermind behind the curtains of the label and Patrik Valousek in the guise of JR Vallo (a bicephalous drum N bass entity which already landed on the catalogue of Fokuz, the amazing Dutch label powered by Triple Vision). The features of typical outputs by Seba can be easily caught in this new collaborative act: fast-rolling rhythmical patterns and perfect cuts masterfully softened by liquid sonorities, a formula that works as dream boosters besides inspiring flows to the dancehalls. My favourite track of the two tracks is "Bon Voyage" as I enjoyed the way by which they stretched in and out a slightly distorted low frequency as if it were a sort of elastic band, keeping together the crystalline beeps (the first sound you can hear since the beginning of the track), the percussive elements and other synth-driven softeners, that altogether render a comfortable high-speed journey. On the other track "-15", these guys roll and shuffle more or less the elements (plus a female voice shouting "Take it away"), but the elastic frequency is an almost neutral item of the track, focusing on stop'n'go sequences that made me think to an expedition to explore or escape from some glacial region, during which the brave explorers had to face obstacles like icy giants.

Logics ft.Kodin: Knock, Knock

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 15 2017
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Artist: Logics ft.Kodin (@)
Title: Knock, Knock
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Delta9 Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
If the Croation producer Danjiel Zinic aka Logics (the source for those rocky little isles portrayed in the artwork could be Croatia...or maybe that smoke around could allusive of something else...) can make tracks like the ones he poured into this new release title "Knock, Knock" by Delta9 whenever he waits that someone open the door to him, the people on the other side of the door could be tempted to let him keep on knocking on the door in vain. Jokes aside, the title track features a knock (of course) and an amazing and somehow disquieting set of percussions and sounds that could render an enjoyable sort of siege over a likewise enjoyable carpet of halftime precise cuts (maybe Logics trying to pick the lock after repeated knocking!). The tempo remarkably rises over higher BPMs on the following "Ratio", a track that gives faster whacks with the complicity of Zagreb-based dj and producer Kodin, but my favourite moment of this 3-track bundle is "Shield", combining midtempo, crippling dub/trip-hop sledgehammers and amazing concatenations of rhythmical strings. Check it out!

Oliver Yorke: Wanderer/Not Giving Up (ft.Silent Dust)

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 15 2017
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Artist: Oliver Yorke (@)
Title: Wanderer/Not Giving Up (ft.Silent Dust)
Format: 12"
Label: none60
Rated: *****
It's not the first time I introduce outputs by West-London based producer Oliver Yorke for Silent Dust's imprint none60: more or less one year ago, he signed a couple of good mid-tempo tracks ("Helion" and " Kali") by balancing digital clicks, well-forged patterns and trippy melodies. His "scientific" approach to the beat-making and the editing as well as the sonorities by which he stuffs his tracks could vaguely resemble Photek. The soft melodic dough that starts to rise at the beginning of "Wanderer" got absorbed by rhythmical lashes, mechanical gears, serpentine computational sequences and sonar-like whispers that were widely used by some 'nu jazzers' in the late 90ies (check "Moonbathing" by Amba as a possible term of comparison). Some connection with sonorities of that period of bass-driven music can be heard in "Not Giving Up", the collaborative track with Silent Dust, whose hyper-compressed snare hit was a recipe of many jungle tracks of that interesting age of music making, but the melodic stabs and some clutches in this tracks pushes it towards the stylistic territories of labels like Kode 9's Hyperdub.

VV.AA.: 15 Years Of Secret Operations

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 12 2017
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: 15 Years Of Secret Operations
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Secret Operations (@)
Rated: *****
Fifteen years for a drum'n'bass label could be considered something close to a geological era, but when the quality is above the standard levels of the scene, such a longevity is a worthy and almost logical goal. As most of the d'n'b followers know, Secret Operations is the personal imprint by the appreciated Swedish producer Seba, whose amazing style combining rumbling low frequencies, liquid phunk and perfectly cut rhythmical patterns, obviously strongly influenced the sound. The fact this collection embraces a so large time span can let you appreciate the way by which the label managed to catch a set of many different stylistic components, slight diversions of a sonic frame featuring the above-sketched features. For instance, some stylish marks of 90ies jungle can be heard on the opening "Pieces" (2002), amazing track featuring the long-lasting voice by Robert Manos on the mic that Seba co-signed with Jasper Dahlback aka Lenk (another talent of Swedish scene) or the gunfires of the harsher side of jungle of the mentioned decade shaking the grounds of tracks like the bicephalous tune "Fire Like This" (2006) by Seba and Dev 'Paradox' Pandya. Nuances of 'Indian-summer' sonorities grasped into nervous breaks can be heard on the enchanting "Second Thoughts" (2008) by Finnish producer Resound or darker slides like the visionary accelerations of "Heavy Traffic" by Seba and American brilliant producer Method One (2011), exacerbating some contemporary madness, or the menacingly rumbling tones of "External Reality" (2005). Some songs, that maybe boosted your dreams yet, cannot be but included: the lovely "Blaze and Fade Out" (2008) - featuring one of the mellowest male voice in Swedish scene, the one by Kirster Linder -, the psychedelic refreshing flights of "Cant Describe" - one of the best moments taken from Seba's last album "Identity" (2013), including samples from some unspecified airport...I didn't use the word 'flight' by chance! - or the sweetly hypnotic "Life Is". Eighteen delicious extracts to celebrate a well-deserved respectable age! Long life to Secret Operations.


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