Let me begin first by stating that I'm not
overly fond of vocal stylings in ambient music. Oh sure, there are
some Tibetan or Gregorian chants that are quite compelling, but for
the most part, give me my music straight and instrumental.
With that out of the way, let me say that despite the vocal additions
to some of the tracks on Eastern Dub Tactik's first album, the
music can be quite listenable.
The title is homage paid to cultural heroes and martyrs, whose blood
is still "shining" as a guiding light to the rest of
us. What makes this some what odd is that names that appear on the
liner include Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X and the
Kent State Four, a decidely American collection of names, but the
music on the album is most definitely tinged with a Middle-Eastern flavor.
The album begins with "Spiritual High," a mix
of heavy bass lines and throbbing drums, combined with an insistent
organ run and what sounds like a combination of chanting and
murmuring. "Day of Despair" is easily
recognizable by anyone listening to the popular ambient music
programs, most specifically Musical Starstreams. Not
surprising, since Waveform is the "house label"
of Musical Starstreams. The title track comes third, and the
token chanting of the title is only occasional. Interspersed with
some tools of the hip-hop trade, such as whistles and scratches,
there are flutish sounds laid over a hard drum and bass bottom. "Spark
the Sound" begins with a sitar-and-strings flourish,
then transmogrifies into a pulsating, gyrating cacophony that is both
intense and trancelike at the same time. It's one of the best tracks
on the CD.
Make no mistake, this is a heavy drum-n-bass work; every one of the
eleven tracks that make up this nearly one-hour collection has a
driving, almost hypnotic beat backing it. The pieces vary by
vocalist, and each cut is a work unto itself. The similarities are in
the trance-like render- ing of each. "Like This"
might be my personal favorite -- the vocals are minimal, and the
music is tinted with electric organ and the familiar trance-like beat.
However you slice it, the tracks each stand on their own, as distinct
pieces of music. Together, they make up an entire album of powerful,
if not almost disturbing flavor. If your taste runs to trance/chant
music with a Middle-Eastern flair, this album might have your blood shining.
Reviewed by Fred Puhan for