Sunday, 31 March 2013

s/he - s/he (2011) Album Review

Occasionally I like to try something I've never heard of, and just stumble onto from some unexpected source. So it was that while looking at Flexstyle's BandCamp page I noticed a recommendation for s/he, a US-based duo whose album he described as "Some of the best electronic pop music you've ever heard in your life." Well, he knows his stuff, I thought to myself, so I gave in and listened to their self-titled (and only) album. Turns out that was a good decision, because while that may be high praise to live up to, this is indeed a class act of an album which in a less cynical and fad-obsessed world would deserve a major-label release.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

John B - Electrostep (2006) Review

John B has been around for a long time now, his first appearances doing darkstep on labels like Metalheadz being back in the late 90s. But since about 2001 his career has notably focused on pushing the drum and bass genre out of its rough and reese-heavy safe zone into more unusual territory, with multiple EPs and now three albums incorporating trance and electroclash elements into the genre. While in 2013 this might not seem all that radical, post DJ Fresh and his chart-conquering singles in the last two years which borrowed heavily from both of those sources, this was the early 2000s when Pendulum hadn't even come over to Britain with their stadium rock ideals yet. John B was sticking his neck out a lot, especially as the DnB scene frequently goes through periods of everyone trying to out-macho everybody else with the hardest and dirtiest tracks possible, and this was starting to occur at the time. While other heads reacted to this by jumping to the then more experimental and more sub-heavy vibe of early dubstep, John B drew on his other influences to spice up his sound. 2004's in:Transit was an album that combined a trancestep sound with darker more traditional DnB and played down his passion for synthpop and electroclash - two years later, this was to be completely inverted by Electrostep.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Seba - Identity (2013) Review

Seba is a very well-established name within the atmospheric and funky side of drum and bass. His mid-90s releases include landmark tune Sonic Winds, and later on he made excursions into more minimal dnb and trancestep. It's through the latter of these that I discovered him, after his collaborative tracks with Kirsty Hawkshaw and hearing his music played by John B, so I'm very much a new fan of Seba's music. Identity draws on his trancier side, his minimal influences from his work with Paradox, and a general all-round professionalism and attention to detail not always found in drum and bass. It is an album very likely to solidify my appreciation for him.