Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Vinyl and Digital reviews: Aril Brikha, Sedge Warbler and Mosaic Volume One

These are reviews originally submitted for Clash, reproduced in their unedited entirety below.

Aril Brikha - Deeparture in Time - Revisited (Art of Vengeance)
... Departure in time but not in quality

Rating: 4 out of 5

A Swedish-Iranian with several releases under his belt for prestigious labels Transmat, Music Man, Kompakt, Poker Flat, and Peacefrog, Aril Brikha took a unconscious side step from Scandinavian DJ tool sounds to make deep and soulful Detroit techno and catching the attention of Derrick May. He released ‘Deeparture in Time’ back in 1999 on Transmat to global applause and ‘Deeparture... Revisted’ is the first outing for his Art of Vengeance label, which has been in the making since the 90s. Remastered by Jesper Dahlb├Ąck, it is a 10 year anniversary double-CD release of the original and features unreleased and rare tracks from DAT tapes dating between 1995 and 1999. That fact alone brings home the timeless qualities of his music - no-one would bat an eyelid if he released this as new in 2011. As a complete collection, the set builds on the soulful, deep house and techno sounds, awash with acidic tones, hypnotic drones and interesting textures to techno that packs a punch, and taking it back down to rising sun grooves. Aril’s own classics such as ‘Groove La Chord’ and ‘Embrace’ are high points, and you sense subtle reminders of where acts like the Junior Boys gained inspiration with ‘On & On’.

Release date: 24th January 2011

Various Artists - Mosaic Volume One (Exit Records)
…more than just DnB

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Created in a bid to find one outlet for a multitude of tunes, ‘Mosaic Volume One’ is a double LP compiled by dBridge, capturing the various styles of Exit Record artists. Established artists sit amongst new talents for a broad theme of experimental drum and bass, but this also extends to ambient, dubstep and ethereal electronica in a few brush strokes. Drum and bass tends to be a genre associated with a very typical rhythm pattern - the build-up, the explosion, the breakdown, but after listening to Mosaic it’s a little hard to determine what is DnB when it branches out into so many other sounds. The first CD, featuring names like Scuba, Distance, and newer artists like Synkro and Dan Harbanham takes a gentler position; deep, soulful and melancholic IDM even at times, and dare I say it, post-dubstep. They aren’t as club-orientated as you might expect, but CD2 fulfills rhythmic needs with Commix, Abstract Elements, Instra:mental and Skeptical throbbing deep with the sub-bass and dubstep-tinged productions; one of the more interesting tracks comes from Skream, who captures the sounds of the ‘Motorway’ with saw-sliced strings and mechanical screeches. ‘Mosaic’ is all about demonstrating the sounds that fall between the boundaries of related genres.

Release date: 31st January 2011

Sedge Warbler - Welcome to the Universe (Skanky Panky Records)
…Striking similarities, but leave your worries behind

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Sedge Warbler are Dank and Disko, a South African producer and emcee team taking their interest in space-age glitch hop to bass, dubstep and wonky lovers. Fans of Playdoe will recognise and enjoy the popping electro against smart and catchy lyrics, and ‘Fett’s Vettes’ (MC Chris) fans will chuckle at the sci-fi themes. Vocoder and manipulated voices herald opener ‘Welcome to the Universe’, which takes a chopped and screwed approach and filters this drag element into ‘Paranormal Ox man’ - the latter features soap opera muzak breakdowns amongst deep electronica; an awkward sound! Despite the weaker start, the LP is a strong finisher once crunky glitch-hop thumpers like ‘Face Rap’, and ‘Octopus Lover’ make their appearance. Sometimes rap appears as another rhythmic layer in dance music, but the lyrical content takes equal focus here forcing simultaneous enjoyment while Vitalic-esque thick chords and lazer bass tickle your fancy. The only thing that raises a question is how similar the keys on ‘Octopus Lover’ mimic a well-known track. Indeed, amongst the DJ Shadow, Format and Moroder influences it is difficult not to be struck by another musical reference while grooving out to Sedge Warbler. Nevertheless, deactivate those niggles and you’ll have a fun time.

Release date: January 2011

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