Mystique drums is the fifth album by Millimetrik a.k.a. Pascal Asselin, who hails from Quebec city (And so am I…) but it’s not the reason why I’m reviewing his album since a lot of readers of my blog are from foreign countries. I’m not too fond of chauvinist people who praise music for their origins or city. It’s not because it’s from Berlin, Detroit or London that the music is automatically interesting. Whilst it’s fair to say that Mystique drums is the work of someone who’s manage to keep himself up to date in the realm of electronic music with dubstep and breakbeat beats spliced together with amazing soundscapes, I think what I liked the most about Mystique drums is the fact that this album has a lot of what dance & electronic records seems to be somewhat lacking these days : emotions. Danse rue de Chabrol danse almost got me confused with Boards of Canada, for its sheer emotional content. It’s music with depth, with an evolving lullaby, a rhythm that never gets tedious, and that seems to glide along with the listener into a peaceful and yet engaging landscape…Chilled and with energetic rhythms, tracks like Quebec city mountains maintain a dynamic presence of elements interacting with each other especially in the rhythm area as Asselin, a former drummer for Below the Sea, also played drums on some of the tracks such as Outhouse / I Wish You Will Never Leave and Gong Fu Cha. As a matter of fact, the only complaint I have with the album, is that I wish some of the tracks would last a bit longer. Listening to Mystique drums is such a pleasant journey, one you’d wish would never end…Bravo Pascal !
Millimetrik : Danse Rue De Chabrol Danse : 2010 / Make mine music
In 2008, NYC based Subatomic Sound teamed up with Vienna’s dub masters Dubblestandart to begin a series of limited edition 12” vinyl exclusives that brought together iconic originators in the history of dub reggae with the gritty underground vibes of the dubstep movement.The lead 12”, “Iron Devil”, included the first ever dubstep tracks from both Lee Scratch Perry and Prince Far-I, produced in collaboration with Dubblestandart and remixed by Subatomic Sound System and Paris’ Tom Watson.Released on hand stamped vinyl in vintage Jamaican jackets, “Iron Devil” disappeared from shelves worldwide in less than a week. In 2009, the follow up vinyl was dedicated to an explosive pairing of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry with rising Brooklyn dancehall reggae star Jahdan Blakkamoore that revisited Perry’s ‘70s classic “Blackboard Jungle” off the seminal album of the same name, a cornerstone of dub reggae that featured Scratch and King Tubby at the controls. These collaborations are very interesting for their ability to conjure new trends with older sounds, showcasing how far dance music has come in the last few years.
The third 12” in the series is entitled “Chrome Optimism” and on this release Dubblestandart brings together the most unbelievable combination yet, a world class summit of mad genius : Jamaican dub originator Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry together with American filmmaker David Lynch, plus as an added bonus, famed French avant garde composer Jean-Michel Jarre. On “Chrome Optimism”, Scratch exercises his inimitable gift to juxtapose spirituality with humor through wordplay that walks a line between nonsense and profundity: “Hello, Hell is very low and Heaven is very, very high!”David Lynch responds with equally mind twisting metaphors like “Euphoric, chrome optimism” and mantras like “The ideas tell you how they want to be”, describing his powerful experience and obsession with transcendental meditation.The otherworldy melody from Jean-Michel Jarre’s famous composition “Oxygen Part 4” floats over the top. Vienna’s Dubblestandart, NYC’s Subatomic Sound System, & Bristol’s RSD switch up the musical vibes beneath, moving from hard charging dubstep to Perry’s classic dub reggae to spacey soundscapes typical of Lynch & Jarre aesthetics. And surprinsingly enough, it works like a match made in heaven.
The “Chrome Optimism” vinyl EP features two remixes from Subatomic Sound System, as well kicking off the A side with the first, a bombastic distorted sub-bass heavy beast that threatens to define a new genre somewhere between dubstep, dub reggae, and the twisted ambience of David Lynch’s film scores. A very mesmerizing EP that’s gonna rock dubstep crowd as well as old school dub heads.
Dubblestandart, David Lynch & Lee Scratch Perry : Chrome optimism (Subatomic Sound US : 2010)
King Midas is a dubstep project composed of Kevin Martin and London/Trinidad poet Roger Robinson. Martin has stated that his influences are Adrian Sherwood, Lee Perrey and Public enemy. King Midas sound is my absolute stroke of genius for 2010. So far, King Midas Sound has made an amazing dubstep album that combines the Hyperdub sound with soundscapes reminescent of Massive attack’s soul sensibilites. Think Massive Attack at their most sinister, their most fluid – the heavy ganja vibes of Inertia Creeps mixed with the ethereal drift of 100th Window, perhaps – and you’re halfway there.. I honestly haven’t heard such amazing qualites in a long time in a new record. Some people complained that the album was too quiet. I would like to point out that it is much challenging to make something sounds sultry as much as King Midas. You don’t start doing tracks as these from the get go, you nurture this type of sounds as Dubstep doesn’t necesserely has to be the next drum and bass trend i.e. loud. Therefore, Martin’s production forgoes the stereotypical dubstep war of bassbin attrition to let the beats glow instead of flash, and even when it approaches an actual heavy knock, like the underlying dancehall bump of “Outta Space” with the smothered Mantronix boom-clap. Waiting for you has plenty of chilled vibes and this is dub production submitted to a solid structure as if he wants to tells a story about the final reverberations of a deserted cityscape. This is infused with a crumbling low-end bass that seems to give birth to the songs. And the voice decorates it like a spiderweb : fragile in appearance, but accurately strong enough to hold a flow against the rhythm. Every strength this record holds draws off the symbiotic relationship between Martin’s beats and Robinson’s voice, which adapt well to each other. It’s definetely work that stands as above average. Maybe it has just been waiting for you…
King Midas sound : Waiting for you (Hyperdub : 2009 : Waiting for you)