Archive | Albums

Chook – The Cocoon

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Chook – The Cocoon

Posted on 19 October 2010 by Kavselj

The Cocoon Cover

Old saying goes that the best things come in small packages. Luxembourg definitely counts as a small package considering it’s size, but it’s also the homeland of Chook. He maybe isn’t the first artist you think of when someone mentions drum’n'bass but his work definitely won’t be overlooked by any serious basshead.
He debuted in 2004 under an alias Full Force which is also the name of the label he runs. Later he started using his current alias Chook and first release under that alias was on Mayhems label Shadow Law. After nearly 5 years of 12″ releases he finally released an album called The Cocoon in early 2010.

Album was released in 3 parts follwed by a full release with 2 extra tracks on 17th May 2010. First part consisted of Optimus Prime and Shades of Orange in collaboration with Aquatek. Influence of techno can be felt in both while maintaining the distinct Chook style.

Grayskull presents us with an epic intro from the well known cartoon He-Man right before it drops us into the dark neurofunk abyss. A quality dancefloor smasher that doesn’t let go until the end.

Times when albums only consisted of one genre are long over. Chook is no exception and offers a candy with the minimal techno flavour. Toontown and Time Running Backwards both make that crunchy sound when going down our ear canals and fit perfectly with the other drum’n'bass tracks.

Even though it’s a short album with only 8 tracks it goes well with the saying quality over quantity. Every track delivers a high level of production while staying true to his style. In the times where even drum’n'bass is facing the phenomenon of commercialization Chook shows us that with good production there is no need for a compromise.

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Alex Grenier – Boomerang

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Alex Grenier – Boomerang

Posted on 24 October 2010 by Kavselj

Has it ever happened to you, that you found a great piece of music by accident? Well, the other day it did happen to me and although I wasn’t really searching for it, I believe it’s no coincidence. It’s just a confirmation of a thought I’ve had, that you can’t find music, music finds you (and so does Chuck Norris:). However, this time I was found by Alex Grenier and his last album Boomerang, released in september 2009. Name the style as you prefer: nujazz, electro jazz, nufunk, acid jazz, electro groove, … doesn’t really matter, the point is it’s unquestionably funky!

The frontman, Alex, is a young french guitar player and a composer, whose passion for jazz and blues clearly shows where the influences came from. He started his musical path in 2002 as a co-founder and a member of a techno rock group called “Kham”. The band broke up in late 2007 which pointed him into a different direction. Along with DJ Sharklo he continued the journey under the name “Sharkee” and by march 2008 the duo released a first real album I like this. Within the next year Sharkee became Alex Grenier, one thing led to another when in march 2009 the guitarist found himself surrounded by a brass section (three saxophones and a trumpet) and with the support of DJ Sharkloses scratching skills, the recording of Boomerang has begun. A third album is on the way, if everything goes as planned it will be out in september 2010.

Out of all 9 tunes, represented on Boomerang, I can say with almost absolute certainty that each one will put a smile on ones face. Deciding which track is the best can be quite challenging since the more you listen to them, the harder it gets to pick one out. Funky groove, catchy riffs, driving melodies, jazzy solos with a bluesy touch and quality scratches on all the right places is what determines them all. And all are most certainly big dancefloor killers!

The groove will make you move … Listen, smile and dance.

Tracklist:
1. This Way (2:28)
2. The Return Of Blues Bob (3:01)
3. Easy (5:19)
4. Let’s Take (4:47)
5. Deep Dance (3:43)
6. Disko Track (2:55)
7. Beat Down (3:39)
8. Explosion (2:48)
9. Boomerang (5:10)

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Dhafer Youssef – Abu Nawas Rhapsody

Dhafer Youssef – Abu Nawas Rhapsody

Posted on 14 October 2010 by Kavselj

I first came across Dhafer Youssef in 2006 when I heard his Album Digital Prophecy. Its very hard to remain cold and apathetic when you face something like this. Magical would be a very reasonable word to describe what is going on, when The band begins to play and it adequately summarizes the feelings that go through your gut, mind and soul. Dhafer is an Oud player and very passionate singer. He was born in Tunisia but moved to Europe to follow his musical expressions and has released 4 albums prior to the latest one Abu Nawas Rhapsody (ANR). With his discography we are sunk in eclectic fusion of traditional and modern, to the deepness of acoustic and electronic soundscape and special mixture of world and jazz music. And ANR is not much different, except maybe with the lack of electronic, but still unique and almost divine through its acoustic sincerity. This time we are faced with quartet, pianist Tigran Hamasyan, bassist Chris Jennings and drummer Mark Guiliana and Dhafer on Oud and vocals. Album with its 11 compositions is musically very well balanced and and offers beautiful artwork from Walid Zouari that follows every song on this record. It starts with ‘Sacre’. Slow and poetic. With enchanting piano and deep lyrical vocal atmosphere that turns into falsetto singing and brings the east to your ears. With interesting Arab rhythmic pattern ‘Les ondes orientales’ is a true gem. Simple Oud theme in one cycle brings unforgettable impression and slow start with world flavor turns into straight jazz madness. All the music in one song.

With slower ‘Khamasa’ and quiet solo on ‘Interl’Oud’ ‘Odd Elegy’ brings us funk. Catching theme that starts the song and truly master drumming, it stops with tender piano and slowly builds with transcendent vocal into another volcano of energy and feelings.

Its truly amazing what Dhafer does with simple melodies. ‘Hayastan dance’ and also ‘Sura’ are really not very complicated on first sight with as little as 5 tones to catch basic mean, but what is built around them, rhythmic complexity, and perfect synergy among the instruments, its what makes Youssef and this album so special. Highly Recommended.

Also if you catch him on Live concert, be prepared to be consumed in what some call almost transcendent state.

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Audio – Genesis Device

Audio – Genesis Device

Posted on 19 October 2010 by Kavselj

Audio… Virus… 11 tracks… Should I go on? When his first album titled To The Edge of Reason came out on Dylan’s TechFreak label back in 2008, it received praise from all the big names in drum’n'bass scene. So it was just a matter of time before he would strike again.

One of the most anticipated albums of this year will definitely satisfy the fans of harder drum’n'bass. 2 years after his debut album the expectations are high for his newest piece of work called Genesis Device. Coming out on the legendary Virus it stays true to the labels standards. 11 new tracks offer everything from the usual Audio sound to dubstep and even some catchy neurofunk.

Starting off slowly with Moon Dock followed by hard hitting Genesis Device, Stratosphere and Collision it leaves us with a little time to breathe. It doesn’t matter where you listen to it, your head will be bouncing up and down while your feet try to catch up with the beats. Although it’s not as pounding as his first album it has it’s own charm that guarantees disaster on the dancefloor.

Genesis Device will hit the stores on 11th of October. Be ready to grab your copy asap!

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Sunchase – Static Nitro

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Sunchase – Static Nitro

Posted on 01 June 2010 by Kavselj

Static Nitro Cover

The days when UK was the center of drum’n'bass scene are long gone. Eastern Europe certainly doesn’t spring to mind when it comes to drum’n'bass but with all talent hidden there it might just be enough to claim the throne. Sunchase isn’t a new name on the scene. Hailing from Ukraine he started producing back in 2003 and his discography includes many releases on labels such as Fokuz, Citrus, Drone Audio etc. A mixture of drum’n'bass and techno sounds are usually his trademark but Static Nitro is a completely different story. And it works out great.

14 tracks (3 bonus tracks are exclusive on digital release) serve as a showcase for his non-techno influenced tranquil side. Deep rolling basslines serving as a base, each track features it’s own story that makes it unique. Violet and Restored blow you away with the piano inserts and drops and you suddenly wish the feeling would never end.

Away From Here and Mountain Top use vocals to capture the listener in a state of tranquility. Keyring and Dew Point aren’t drum’n'bass but when you listen to the album you don’t even notice the transition between the genres when they come up. The same goes for every track. While being completely unique yet sharing the same effect by keeping it deep and minimalistic at times.

Sunchase is without a doubt a name to follow in the future. It’s hard to compare it with other albums released this year so far, but it easily ranks among the best of them. A 90 minute journey that leaves you craving for more. God bless whoever invented the repeat function.

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Noisia – Split The Atom

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Noisia – Split The Atom

Posted on 10 May 2010 by Kavselj

When you mention drum’n'bass to a random person you are almost bound to hear the word Noisia. The dutch trio that started out back in 2003 has been consistently bombarding the scene for the past 7 years and they are not showing any signs of slowing down. With more than 3 years in the making their album entitled Split The Atom is one of the most highly anticipated releases in 2010. It was released on 8th of April with Split The Atom single coming out in late May.

Consisting of 19 tracks and length of just under one hour it takes us on a journey through several different genres while maintaining their trademark sound. Starting off with Machine Gun which was also released as a single a few weeks prior to the album release, they let the listener know that this is only the beginning. Followed by My World, which was edited for the CD release and doesn’t feature vocals from Diana Ross like the original version did, it starts out slow with gentle vocals before unleashing all it’s hidden power upon us. Every few tracks the CD presents us with short teasers (Sh!tbox, Leakage, Headknot etc.) that last around a minute and serve as a showcase of Noisia’s experimental side in various other genres.

Track that bears the same name as the CD probably doesn’t need any extra description. It has been praised ever since it appeared in Fabric Live 40 that was mixed by Noisia and as soon as you hear it you know exactly what it’s all about. Other non-dnb highlights include Alpha Centauri and Red Heat (both released on Divison EP). Then there is one track that takes the “dancefloor smasher” title with ease. Foreign Beggars already collaborated with Noisia on track called Contact and from there on it could only get better. And it did. Shellshock achieves all that in less than 4 minutes. Two absolutely sick drops that will make even the hardest crowd go mental in a matter of miliseconds prove that they haven’t forgotten about all those fans who love Noisia for their dirty and hard hitting trademark sound.
Another highlight is their collaboration with Amon Tobin who is best known for his skill in sampling. Sunhammer is no doubt a masterpiece from a producers point of view, but even average listener can feel it’s power as it strikes with full force.

Overall it’s a very well produced album that offers a little something for everyone. While some might be disappointed by the lack of drum’n'bass tracks, the amount of 1-minute teasers and inclusion of two already released tracks (Diplodocus and Stigma), they really did their best by pushing the rest of the tracks to the limit so that makes up for it. We also have to keep in mind that albums in general are targeted towards wider audience and compromises need to be made. The expectation bar was set pretty high but Noisia once again proved that they deserve to on the top.

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