Saturday, 22 June 2013

Danny Darko & Dionne Lightwood - Visible (2013) Single Review

Here's a quick post giving my thoughts on this recent trancey/melodic dubstep single from Italian producer Danny Darko and British singer-songwriter Dionne Lightwood. I usually give a cautious welcome to the incursion of trance's most salient sonic identifiers, such as the big supersaw, epic breakdown and melodic arpeggios into other genres when they get used to the same effect as they are in my favourite genre. This is what makes Trancestep DnB such a big deal to me.

However I say cautious welcome, because some of these things are prone to abuse in trance and they're just as capable of being badly applied to other genres too. I feel that a lot of the trance-like dubstep that's appearing now, a movement spearheaded by the prominence of American producer Seven Lions and his prolific number of remixes, is falling into this trap, while also undermining some of the essential elements of the dubstep genre itself. If trancestep needs to have both the power and euphoric quality of trance and the speed and syncopation of DnB together to succeed, then any attempt at doing the same with dubstep needs to preserve the rhythmic element and groove provided by the syncopation and swing of the drums as well as the movement of the bassline. "Visible" is a track that doesn't quite manage this in my opinion.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Non-music blog - the fanboy backlash over casting Spider-Man's Mary Jane, and why it is wrong

I found myself having this discussion elsewhere on the web this week, and thought I may as well put my whole thoughts down here. I'm not a big comic book fan, in fact I don't regular read any at all, but superhero films are amongst my favourite action movies to see and I do take an interest in the upcoming ones. Sony's rebooted Spider-Man franchise (now The Amazing Spider-Man) has recently been extended to at least four films, and release dates for parts 3 and 4 have been announced for 2016 and 2018 respectively. This means that production under director Mark Webb has reshuffled some story and character elements around a bit even while shooting of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has already begun. One of those changes is the character of Mary-Jane Watson.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Decoder - Encrypted EP Review [1999]

Decoder is the stage name used by a UK DnB producer Darren Beale, sometimes solo and at other times in partnership with Mark Caro, also known as Technical Itch. Beale and Caro both have a fairly long history with the DnB genre going back to the early 90s hardcore era and Caro remains devoted to the genre today under his main alias. Beale however, as one of the three members of Kosheen, has produced a tiny number of DnB tracks in the last decade since the first Kosheen album, Resist. As a big fan of that album and the Drum and Bass portion of it in particular, I've recently gone on a crusade to dig through the earlier releases of Decoder prior to the band's formation. The Encrypted EP, from 1999 on Caro's Tech Itch Records, is a particularly good place to start - a double 12" release of four tracks, it includes two that are collaborations with Mark "Substance" Morrison, another Kosheen member and very frequent collaborator with Beale even before the band was formed. Released shortly before their linkup with singer Sian Evans, it's useful to draw some contrasts between these tunes and the unique direction they would later take.