Reviews 10-28-2006 

 

Music Reviews 

 

   

Black Magic
by Fuzzion

 

Visit Boshke Beats

Sometimes reviewers such as the present writer may get all enthusiastic and say, ďgreat album! Itís going straight in my record box / Case Logic / Memory Stick / etcĒ. Sadly this is seldom true: with Black Magic however, thatís exactly what happened and I subsequently forgot to review it. 

Apologies then to you lot, to the label, and most of all to the artist for my missing out on hyping up one of my genuinely favourite albums in recent years. 

Distort & Discord does just what it promises to do, a huge lumbering scaremonger of a track with noises so fat they should join Weight Watchers, and Tango De Colour Mango throws in a bit of Finnish, a bit of acid house, and a bit of spaghetti western. Black Magic and C41 are bustling, tight techno from the future, with the latter making wonderful use of discord. The tracks change and shift at every given opportunity Ė youíre never listening to the same frequencies twice. Frog On The Run is a wonderful, loveable bit of tribal spookcore, with just about the right amount of derangedness balancing against a psychedelic bambaata lead. 

Recharge sounds like the inside of a computer on its last legs, Shezabitch is a fine stab at that electro-house-with-bloke-speaking-in-an-accent-over-the-top, both are as deep as they are fun. Next up, things start to get very very special indeed: Yellow Mellow has a certain mid-period-Orbital-ness to it, as though the melodies are bursting to get out from underneath a duvet of noise. Itís staggering and has that air of a timeless bit of electronic music about it. 

As does Starfall, a sublime lesson in how simple patterns and melodies can be combined, healthily, into one of the singularly most honest, respectful and fluid wordless love songs ever recorded in the history of anything. This should be number one in the charts, and for so many, many reasons. Little Girl has echoes of the same melodic sensibility, pushed through a blender of progressive house and post-party warehouse techno. And again, is a gorgeous piece of electronic music. 

One cheeky remix later (White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane, and itís good) weíre back into the album proper with Sound Surface Ė a desolate landscape of sound that would be highly unnerving, if not for the staggering little production tricks he throws in. Finally ICU is a mesmerising little psychedelic gnome to round things off nicely. 

Artist albums should be this good: the flow runs from experimental, to shadowy, through to soaringly happy then back out the other side to experimental. This is bloody, bloody good and will appeal to way more people than the sinister packaging might lead you to believe. Put simply: psyreviews wants Fuzzionís babies. 

 Reviewed by Damion courtesy of the Psyreviews website.

 

   

Universal

by Mantrix

Visit Sub Records'  website

 

Mantrix are a double-act from Melbourne, Australia who made their name through their live set, fusing organic and electronic sounds into a sound thatís more or less Australiaís best-kept musical secret. Thereís a couple of bloody amazing things about this album. 

First, the production quality; secondly the ballsy oldskool energy running through it; and thirdly, samples that really *should* sound shit and clichťd actually work very well indeed. The opening track Levels kicks off with a bread-n-butter bassline before it takes off. Thereís a fat, adorable midrange riff that keeps you hooked. Thereís cut up high-end vocals swirling in the background thatíll have you thinking, all misty-eyed, about high-moments in tranceís history. Free Your Soul sounds so clear itís like the musicís happening inside of your own head. Again weíre being dragged into the music by the midrange, and the smattering of new age-y vocals and samples is a goan delight Ė trust me, it doesnít get cheesy. The central run to this track is staggering Ė the sounds layer and get excited all by themselves, the percussion gets tighter and more frantic, and the overall effect is extremely psychedelic. By which I mean extremely. And by which I also mean psychedelic. 

Armageddon features live guitar, all whipped up into a veritable frenzy. The live sound moulds well into the electronic and while it gets a tad too heavy for my whiteboy ears, the energy is unmistakeable. Psycarumba has no less than five guest musicians, performing brazilian percussion and vocals. The effect here is like dropping acid at Womad and hearing quality goa ringing in your ears all weekend: I donít think I can name a psy track thatís got a stronger live-band-feel to it.

Gaia takes a shift to the deeper, edgier side of things and the sound here reminds me a little of something Cosmosis might come up with when heís in a bad mood. Universal Reflections is an utter cracker Ė the sound is simply vast, spreading right out in front of you. A vocoder gives it a sort of unnerving depth thatís balanced by the earthy percussion going on below. Itís the kind of track that wonít so much as make a dancefloor ignite: itíll make a dancefloor spontaneously combust. The low-set midrange drives it along, keeping everything grounded before escalating it upwards and upwards. 

Alpha Beater, however, is the utter ripper here. A barking 303, an incredibly psychedelic set of bleeps and whistles, all underpinned by a driving bassline. And, seriously, itís as good as The Infinity Project, as good as Cosmosis, as good as Doof, and it even has a movement and passion that should get the Posford-devotees glazing over like Easter buns. Rebirth is another belter Ė it has a deep, fin-de-ciecle feel about it with a whirlwind of dreamtime percussion, subtly-crafted electronic tickles and more energy than a gazillion duracells. 

Finally, the two parts of Spontaneous Existence give a thundering close to the album. Starting out chilled (and bloody good chill it is too), it goes through 4/4, breaks, before picking up the lysergic quotient nicely. 

All in all Universal is a f*ing amazing artist album. Psyreviews often bangs on about artist albums lacking direction, flow, or ideas Ė all three are in bountiful abundance here. There are some dazzling moments, some real blasts of emotional power, and some ideas and production that border genius. I simply canít bang on about it enough: utterly brilliant.

 Reviewed by Damion courtesy of the Psyreviews website.

 

   

Neo::caine

by Various Artists

Visit Neurobiotic Records' website

 

Crikey. Iíd heard this was good, but nothing quite prepared me for quite how good it actually is. Slow again on this review, as it was sent to my old address on the other side of the planet (and yes i did tell everyone.) Fullon is still alive and breathing folks, and while there are some pretty duff moments, and one downright awful one, overall the quality is high enough to pique anyoneís interest. Tristan & Prometheusí Supernature has one of the most exhilarating introís in quite a while. Youíd expect good stuff from these two heavyweights, but on hearing that initial first drop I betcha canít get at least a tiny bit excited. The track progresses nicely, gnarlier than you might expect, but with that trademark Prometheus stretchiness sitting nicely in the middle. One quick breather later, and the fireworks start again: this, ladies and gents, is whatís known in the trade as a f**king gem. 

Likewise Allabyís Aurorae: reminds me a little of Blue Planet Corp in the progression stakes. Thereís an awful lot going on here, the escalation is enough to get even me excited, and the melodic fluffy tickles happening over the top are just dazzling. Zen Mechanicsí New Propulsion Technology has a sturdy backbone, plenty of acid, a sharp progression and a subtle little melody for the final run thatís quality all the way. Jaia does surprisingly well with Electricity, a glistening piece of morning fullon that also captures the wonder and energy of his more recent progressive output. The production here really does wonders, with the topend melodies not being far off the sound of endorphins being released into the brain. Utterly love it. 

Silicon Soundís remix of Wrecked Machines & Pixelís RPNGC is another goodun Ė although I anticipate being shut down by SOMEone out there because itís fluffy, itís melodic, and itís a bit gay. This aside, the production and movement will stagger you Ė itís a slow-paced bit of dream house, at the end of the day, but fuck me itís good, well-executed, dream house. Wrecked Machines & Pixel have another bash with Tea Time, which is chunkier than their other material and sounds limp and predictable compared to whatís just come before it. Likewise Orionís Welcome To Reality Remix is characteristically decent-but-missable. 

Polarisí 25 sees the quality come back. Itís all about the groove here, and bloody nice it is as well. The sounds are varied here, the acid sounds wonderful, and everything about it is cause for some sort of celebration. Tikalís Experience is completely dreadful. The breakdown at 1:50 is the most offensively eurotrance thing Iíve heard since I last listened to Eurotrance. Weíve seen Tikalís gradual slide in the last year or so, and I hope to God (but somewhat doubt) that this is the lowest point heíll hit. Utterly offensive psyretard music thatís an offence to anyone who hears it. Thereís even the worst ever use of an eminem sample in the history of anything. 

Finally, Altom pick it up again with Viper, very in keeping with their polished French style but nice use of acidlines keep it buoyant: it may not be the most original tune in the world, but itíll get a dancefloor moving. The high points, then, are extremely high Ė which sort of balances the low ones out. Neo::caine is the closest thing to an essential fullon album youíll hear at the moment.

Reviewed by Damion courtesy of the Psyreviews website.

 

   

We Speak Music

by Amanda Shake

Visit Utopia's website

 

Iím a bit late on this one Ė as it was sent to my UK address while I was meanwhile on the other side of the planet. You may have heard this already, it may all be old news, but if this one has passed you by then itís worth a sniff as one of the better fullon artist albums to have materialised in quite some time. The buzzword here is energy Ė the musicís overflowing with it. Quite where these two guys get it from is something of a mystery; youíd have to go back to your vintage 3D Vision stuff to find high-octane stuff like this. 

Meshel 6 Days kicks off with a fat intro with a piano that has me thinking of Bruce Hornsby. This subsides though Ė into a tasty, succulent slab of guitar-friendly acidic trance. Itís a good mix of solid, riff-based lines and quirky little stopstarts and tricks, and a vibe thatís positive without being overtly cheesy Ė as though youíre chasing the sun, and that this means something. After Shock continues in the same vein Ė hugely effective, massively powerful music. The sounds are so big they feel like theyíre attached to your face, and at the point where the huge breakdown comes crashing down around you, they start pounding at you like angry dockers. Street Fighters is peppered with cheeky little Richard Pryor samples (ďI must have snorted up PeruĒ) and runs out into a big bit of Israeli with an epic vibe. Decent stuff all the same, but not quite realising their full potential. 

Pushing Me Out is another big tune, likely to get dancefloors moving but with its over-reliance on a fairly tired-sounding four-chord pattern it again lacks some of the interest, excitement and spark that some of the other tracks boast. Digger is a better example of their raw, boundless energy Ė when it all comes together it seriously cascades all over the place, with huge sounds all layered around you like a giant marshmallow of dust-kickery. Round Trip chucks a bit more funk and a vaguely electro-tinge into the mix, and while it lends a bit more of an Infected-esque sound it works well. The breakdown and peak are an utter whirlwind here, once again itís all about the power and these guys definitely deliver. 

Ground Speed is a shade edgier, with a moody feel and plenty of twist at the bottom end, and for my money this extra dimension makes for some unbelievably powerful music. Classy. Less so is Shake Well Before Use, which falls into those traps of (a) sounding like Infected and (b) having a cringemaking euro topend; and this is not to mention the frankly embarrassing guitar solo. Ornella Secrets sounds like Spinal Tap over mid-period Infected, We Speak Music sounds like a less cohesive Violet Vision, and both are missable. 

There are some duff bits on here, make no mistake. But despite this, you canít fault their energy and poise and sheer enthusiasm for the music theyíre making. Impressive stuff, and well worth a listen.

Reviewed by Damion courtesy of the Psyreviews website.

 

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