The latest in the Set… series is compiled by Aran Gallagher,
aka Freq; the same guy whose Strange Attractors last year brought Iboga bang up
to date to pretty much the hottest progressive label around. And it’s Freq’s
own stuff, reworked, that opens the album. Carbon Based Lifeform gets a great
rework from Sun Control Species, and boy is it a
delight. Drew SCS is at the top of his game at the moment, and his sounds here
seem to play off
Freq’s incredibly well.
As you expect with both artists, the overall effect is a
hypnotic, driving one and the escalation is perfect. Liquid Soul then step up
to remix Strange Attractor, which for my money doesn’t quite have the gleaming
SCS’s remix, and sounds a little limp somehow. It’s still quite
competent, don’t get me wrong – the warmth of the original is retained, the
flow is still there, but it seems like a little too much emphasis is placed on
the original’s melody, which is the focal point of a good 60% of the track.
Know what I mean?
On the original, the melody seemed to be like an accidental
afterthought, whereas here it’s slapped in the middle, even having a chord
change underneath it. Beckers’ Switch is one of the largest tunes of the year,
and it’s remixed here by Ace Ventura, who’s turned in a pretty decent rework.
The question is, however, whether we really needed another one. There’s nice
clattering booty going on, but it makes the fragmented riff sound a little
incongruous… and, sorry, but by now when I hear that vocal come in I’ve already
had enough and I’m going back to my van. Zen Mechanics’ Environmental Porn has
a good sound to it, and I’m happy to report that their progressive stuff is
every bit as individual as the rest of their output. The vibe is resolutely
widescreen here, the sounds are hugely expansive and at times you forget you’re
listening to something electronic, it sounds so natural. It picks up splatters
of twist and funk that remind me a little of Cosmosis, before a rather massive
breakdown that drops into a hell of a final run. Morax’s Lost In The Woods
opens with a fairly awkward groove, gradually gathering warmth and personality
as it goes along.
By the midsection there’s a multi-layer hook going on that’s
got you right in the middle grooving away nicely, and the way the clean top end
contrasts with the mulchy lows makes for a vacuum, cleared-mind dancing
experience. Manuel Duego’s Deception is a bloody great track, very in-keeping
with the kind of grooves that have been shaking the walls here at Castle
Psyreviews lately. It’s perfectly-layered, ideally-pitched, not-too-floaty
progressive trance with one hell of a breakdown and a drop that picks up a
sprinkle of psychedelic. We like. Nasser’s
Vovoli is a dirty little bitch of a tune (shall I say that again…. dirty little
bitch. You like that? Pervert.) It’s sketchy, it’s deep, it’s playful and it
combines the psychedelic expansion with straight proggy goodness to pretty decent
effect. Casa Flava’s Further South (Deep Mix) is the strongest on the album for
my money. Incredibly fluid, with hints of something that reminds me a lot of
one of the old Global Underground albums. The breakdown is just delightful,
it’s what this end of the spectrum is all about – expansive, tight, smooth and
simply f**king sublime.
Finally, Freq turns in a remix of Nyquist’s Singularity, and
on the strength of this, Freq’s current productions are well-evolved (pardon
the pun) from his older stuff. The percussion is tighter than a nun’s chuff,
the bassline sucks you in like an experienced Thai ladyboy, and the melodies
open up and embrace you like… like…. Reckon I haven’t got a similie? F**k you.
Let’s go with: the melodies open up and embrace you like a younger Tina
Turner’s thighs. Hah. All in all Set 6 is an interesting release, although a
bit too scattered to be really, genuinely essential. The future’s still looking
bright for the Iboga boys, but Set 6 is no supernova.
Reviewed by Damion courtesy of the Psyreviews website.