Close Grind (Novamute)
American techno producer Joey Beltram was the man behind the classic 'Energy Flash' back in 1991. This album sees Joey adopting a more modern style of techno, that sample it, loop it and fuck with the EQ.
Although this type of minimalism does not make for the most stimulating home listening, the dynamics of hard percussion and increasingly intense sounds make for a powerful dancefloor experience. -Chris Sadler
In Order to Dance to Drum and Bass (R+S)
Attractively packaged, this 4 LP set comprises 21 tracks mainly from the jazzier, mellow end of the drum and bass spectrum. There are a few tracks present that are either trying to be too avant garde, ending up not flowing quite as they might, such as Jacob's stairway. or they are too staid, employing overused breaks and overdoing it on the fluffy ambience as in Jazz Juice.
But overall there is a good quality. The Plastic Ratio featuring useful contributions from Shogun, Wax Doctor, The Original Playboy and Jungle main players. the stand out here is flytronix with 'Rare Tear part 1' a sublime combination of funky bass, slick percussion and thoughtful additions. in general, a fair to good compilation, and if you're partial to the more chilled side of drum and bass you could do a lot worse than to buy this. -Chris
ARMAND VAN HELDEN PRESENTS OLD SCHOOL JUNKIES
The Funk Phenomena (Henry Street)
A fairly average disco cut., up from the Dj SNEAK school of thought.
Another 'Professional Widow' this ain't but with the patent Armand bassline and 70's disco samples in place this a bound to get plenty of airtime.
A fair if not exceptional little number.
Toxygene 12" (Island)
Anyone familiar with the Orb will be aware of their steady decline from the brilliant 'Adventures beyond the Ultraworld' CP to the frankly pointless 'Orbus Terrarum'.
This E.P. heralds a welcome return to form by the original heady, with its strong rhythm and catchy dub bassline. Blunted without being too slow this moves feet as well as heads. doubling the value, Kris Needs puts in an up—tempo trancesque remix on the flipside. -Chris Sadler
Among My Swan
Mazzy Star, featuring Hope Sandoval on vocals, and in his third successful and interesting project David Roback (Opal and the seminal new wave psychedelic Rain Parade) continue to expand the boundaries of their hallucinogenic country on Among My Swans, the third release under this moniker.
More consistently shimmering than the more singles oriented than last year's So That Tonight I May See, let it curl around you when escaping to the bubble bath, or if you just want to space out to some flurries.
Ms. Sandoval's deep, throaty, unique way of just singing after the beat, lead the listener through the ambiguities of an abandoned house, complete with attic, dust and rocking chair, while Roback's sonic antics and keyboard washes make this the holiday record to stare into the fireplace with a cuddly friend or a bottle of red. Highlights or twilights include Cry, Cry and Umbilical. -Keith Kirchner
A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
Beats, Rhymes and Life
A Tribe Called Quest's 4th record Beats, Rhymes, and Life is not as immediately brilliant as the last two (Midnight Marauders and The Low End Theory) but comes to life gradually as one becomes assimilated to the lyrical content, and as always with the conceptually minded New Yorkrz, a brand new trip.
Stripped down samples and soundtrack effects sound better and funkier the louder you play Beats since the beat itself is mixed so high. Most of the tones are bassy and textual as opposed to the screaming pulse tones of the Death Row school. Gutsy effort and a courageous resistance to break from the tried and true.
Once you get to know it you'll be able to groove to the vocal idiosyncratics of Get aHold, Mind Power, and my favourite jam What Really Goes On, on infinite repeat like you did with the last two records. -Keith Kirchner
Electro Glide In Blue (Sony)
@440 has come outta left field and put demands on everyone's eardrums, most famously with their big hit 'Krupa'.
But they didn't just remix Gene Krupa's drum beats into a song, they've hijacked and held them hostage in an underground laboratory, giving them electroshocks until they scream for mercy, and no hit squad from Lima is gonna get them out.
All in all a diverse mix of tunes, 'tho a little heavy on the heroin chic trip, but hey, this is the ninties, so why not wail? -Jeffree Benet