Soundscape
ESSENTIAL ALBUM
VEGAS
CRYSTAL METHOD
OUTPOST/UNIVERSAL

The debut release from two guys based in the US who rose to fame with the in your face 'Trip Like I Do', (a collaboration with grunge outfit Filter) featured on the Spawn soundtrack. 'Trip Like I Do' incidentally, is the opening track on the album, followed by their current single, 'Get Busy Child', a funky break-beat piece with fat analogue sounds. Rather than following the rougher sounds of Chemical Brothers and Death In Vegas - The Crystal Method's sound is more rounded and smoother, but still has a distinct flavour. Their beats lean more towards Electro and they make clever use of the 303 as in 'Cherry Twist'. At times, the layers of strings have an ambient feel, like the track 'High Roller', which is more down tempo, including spacey sounds and samples from NASA mission control broadcasts. 'Comin Back' features a vocal and 'Keep Hope Alive' has a somewhat UK '91 feel. Across the board, they're a bit more out there than other popular break-beat groups, versatile, very analogue based; at times experimental and still maintain a solid sound throughout. Big Beats, Breaks, Trip Hop? Call it what you will, this is the sound of the Crystal Method. *****


Album

ESSENTIAL COMPILATION
BIG MIX 2
Various Artists
EMI

Being the last month of the year, all the record companies are bombarding us with their best of '97 releases, and another major player, EMI, deliver their selection. The obligatory double CD featues a cross section from slow groove to hi energy and everything in between. Big tracks that jump out at ya include one of the biggest tracks of the year, Brainbug's 'Nightmare', Quattara's epic 'Come With Me', Healy and Amos' South American inspired 'Argentina' (remixed by our very own GT), DJ Quicksilver's club anthem 'I Have A Dream', Diddy's cute 'Give Me Love' and BBE's energy Trance monster, 'Flash'. On the hi energy side, you get Kim Carnes' 'Betty Davis Eyes', Euphoria's 'Love You Right '97' and Fargetta's 'Music'. Heading more underground (kind of), there's Tall Paul's 'Rock Da House'and Kayashi's somewhat experimental 'Furyo'. Other tracks include the hard to find 'Spin Spin Sugar' remixed by AVH by Sneaker Pimps and another couple of Aussies join the ranks - Josh Abraham's Edison Project with 'Don't Be Afraid' and Rani's 'Always On My Mind', once again mixed by the king of the beats (don't you love him) GT.

*****


Compilation

ESSENTIAL SINGLE
DIGITAL
GOLDIE FEAT KRS ONE
FFRR

This track has been floating around the world for ages as a white label, and it's finally been released on a major label, complete with different mixes. Featuring the lyrics of KRS One of US outfit Boogie Down Productions, his voice easily identifiable along with other legendary rappers like Rakim, Chuck D and Ice T. This is probably the first Drum & Bass track that I've heard with an American rapper featured on it. Goldie takes charge of the beats, which are rough and rugged; it's uptempo, with plenty of distortion to boot. The lyrics of KRS One send a clear message, about the age in which we live, a digital age, drawing reference to technology and corporate influences that seem to run the world, from McDonalds to the internet, he even disses "MCs that stumble over their words.." On the CD release, there's a radio edit minus a few obscenities, along with the original version and a remix. However on the vinyl, there's an Armand Van Helden, mix, done in the Speed Garage style.

*****


 

ESSENTIAL LOCAL SINGLE
SOLAR FLARE
ENDORPHIN
COLUMBIA/SONY

Unearthed some eighteen months ago, by radio JJJ, French born Endorphin is now signed with Columbia/ Sony. His new single follows on from his debut release, 'Relapse'; which was remixed by Melbourne duo 'Our House'. Haunting, tribal vocals ride over a sweet melody as 'Solar Flare' highlights the indigenous sound of the didjeridoo, which floats in and out of the mix. The track's downtempo with a dreamy feel, although it does have parts that pack a mighty punch; with guitar licks thundering down amongst the calm of the ethereal rhythm. Other mixes include Ben Suthers 'Disaster Area Remix', which maintains many sounds from the original version. Notable exceptions are the use of more beefed up beats and a harder breakbeat loop combined with acid overtones. The third version, also remixed by Ben Suthers affirms that he's definitely the producer of the moment; attacking the track, delivering a four to the floor version, reminiscent of the Progressive Trance sound of Paul Van Dyk. 'Insomnia' (no resemblance to the Pop hit!), an additional track, is an adventure through digi-dub. Slower than the title track, it has various live instruments, like the sax and the tinkering of a piano, warped vocal loops and a vocal sample (who sounds like Elmer Fudd!), murmuring ģI can't sleepē. Endorphin has a crossover appeal, a formula that combines tribal elements and the sounds of nature, he could become the next 'Enigma'.

*****


Single

ESSENTIAL LOCAL ALBUM
1-800 THUNK
VARIOUS ARTISTS
THUNK RECORDINGS

The first compilation from the Thunk tribe, one of Australia's most developing imprints. Essentially, it features tracks from their first four EPs, along with the aptly named 'Inbred REMIX' EP, which sees Thunk's 'children' attacking each other's tracks, presenting an entirely new take on the original works. First up there's some classic cuts, like Earth Link's 'Bender' from Thunk's debut the 'Spectral' EP. Then a hit from Pocket's venomous 'Veda Rhyddum' as well as the breakbeat fest of 'Hijack' sets us up for some more doses of 'Thunkaine'. Following on, there's Head Affect's Electro crunching 'Riot' as well as the rockin' beats and basslines of 'Red Herring'. From Outfission's debut and Thunk's fourth EP - 'Weekend Favourites' you'll find 'Friday', which goes all bleepy and breaky, we skip Saturday and find ourselves lost on 'Sunday' which turns out being more of a carry on than a comedown. After wading through the originals, it's time to enter the uncharted waters to hear from Head Affect as they 'do' Pocket's 'Wonky', clubbing it up some, bringing out a fat and funky sound. Earth Link, jump on Head Affect's 'Intosect' creating a trancey, tribal driven track. Recent additions to the Thunk tribe, Outfission do their parents - Earth Link's 'Bender', taking it on a darker path, layering it with some rolling congas. 1-800 Thunk, is the perfect flag for defining the sound of this great southern land, as well it displays how well a family of artists can work together with each other. This is the foundation for future generations of local artists in Australia.

*****


Local