Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Various Artists, Rekids Revolution

In the previous review I wrote about how my enjoyment of Ewan Pearson’s We Are Proud of Our Choices mix for Kompakt led me to search out his Fabric 35 mix. This was a good idea because I enjoyed the Fabric mix as much or more than than the Kompakt mix.  I’d also written recently about how much I’ve liked Radio Slave’s Fabric 48 mix.  So, following the same strategy that worked so well with Pearson, I bought a copy of Rekids Revolution which is a three CD set compiling the music of Radio Slave’s Rekids label.  If following up a great mix with another mix from the same artist was a good idea, following up a great mix with a whole label’s worth of music from the same artist would be a better idea, right?  Wrong.  This was a bad idea.

Radio Slave is Matt Edwards,  Rikids is his label and he is featured on a good amount of the music on Rekids Revolution.  The first disc in the collection is a set of unmixed label originals; the second is a set of unmixed remixes, and the third is a mix built from label tracks by Spencer Parker.  Each of the discs presents 70+ minutes of music.

The major problem I have with Rekids Revolution is that too many of the tracks have about 30 seconds of ideas buried in something like 7 to 10 minutes of mind-numbingly repetitious music.  It is tedious beyond belief and getting through all three discs at least once in order to write a review was a chore.  As an example, the lead track on the compilation is Radio Slave’s “Bell Clap Dance”.  It starts with a nice rhythm pattern that then repeats endlessly as once every four measures a little fillup of rhythm (a hand clap with a fading delay or a minor variant on the cymbal/bell pattern) is dropped on the fourth bar.  This goes on for 64 (!!) measures and then a six note pattern that is too simple to even qualify as a riff is introduced which repeats over and over in different instruments until you’re ready to stick nails in your ears rather than have to listen to it again.  It’s enough to make you denounce the invention of  MIDI as the end of Western Civilization and thank whatever gods may exist for the inclusion of skip-track buttons on CD players.  It appears that this track is considered to be a highlight of the set because it is the only one that appears in various forms on all three discs.

It’s not all bad, however.  The Prins Thomas Disko-Tek remix of Luke Solomon’s “Spirits” is pretty good and Spencer Parker’s mix on the third disc develops some good moments.  But it’s not nearly enough.  “Bell Clap Dance” may be the worst example but too much of the music in this collection shares its problems.  Rekids Revolution holds over 210 minutes of music that has maybe 30 minutes of something interesting scattered here and there.  Maybe.  As evidenced by his Fabric 45 mix, Radio Slave can turn out terrific music.  Too bad it didn’t happen here.

My response to “Bell Clap Dance”  and Rekids Revolution has been pretty negative and it may say more about my tastes and interests than it does about the track or the collection.  Here’s the track so you can decide for yourself.  If you like this, you might really like Rekids Revolution.  If not, save your money and your time.


05/31/2010 Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Radio Slave, Fabric 48

Now this is what I’m talkin’ about.  Radio Slave is Matt Edwards, a prolific producer of an astonishingly wide variety of electronic music.  In addition to Radio Slave he is also know as Rekid, and Matthew E, as well as being one half of the duos Quiet Village (with Joel Martin) and Sea Devils (with Thomas Gandey).  Fabric 48 is his entry in fabric’s long-running studio mix series and it’s a killer.

The set opens quietly enough with the Michael Cleis Deeper Remix of Baeka’s “Right At It”.  It then quickly turns to the deep tribal rhythms that define the set with Radio Slave’s “DDB”.  The next track up is again Radio Slave with “I Don’t Need a Cure For This” which is about as good a characterization of Fabric 48 as anything I could come up with.  “I Don’t Need a Cure For This” is the first of four tracks that is one of the better sequences I’ve heard in a mix in a long time.

For the most part Fabric 48 is jungle music.  Not jungle as in drum and bass electronic music-related jungle but rain forest-type jungle.  Maybe tribal would be a better word.  Forward-driving propulsive and loping rhythms keep the set in a solid groove that is very hard to resist.  The set lets down a bit with one of those laid-back spoken raps by the chick with the sultry voice things that some producers of electronic music seem to love with Nina Kraviz’ “Pain in the Ass” but it gets it’s groove back when Kraviz loses the rap and gets to the rhythm late in the track.  If you focus on a segment o fFabric 48 it can come across as repetitious and boring.  However, if you relax your attention a bit the music can carry you away and once that happens it’s hard to stop playing it.

To my eye the CD art is particularly ugly but the idea is to listen to it, not look at it.  Fabric 48 may hurt the eyes but it’s a treat for the ears and those parts of the body that have a tendency to move in sinuous and uncontrollable ways when in the presence of a mighty groove.  If this sounds good to you, check Fabric 48 out.

Segment from Fabric 48

05/20/2010 Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews | , , , , | 1 Comment