After a long break, the electronic duo that is Horsepower Productions were back. Having been seen as pioneers of Dubstep, Dubstep itself was beginning to become a phenomenon at this point. Still, a release from these guys was quite a good idea, given the trends and movements in the musical world at the time. This means that, for those in the know, Horsepower Productions were as relevant as ever. Let’s take a listen to this album and hear where it takes us.
Rain is the first track, and no, it is not a cover of The Beatles song. It begins with sounds of rain and thunder, with some basic electronic textures. There are various samples and textures which sound instantly delicious. A famous vocal sample from Bladerunner is here (great movie, by the way), followed instantly by some heavy beats. This is surprisingly good and fresh sounding, it just sounds like a really interesting and different piece of music. Various sounds and textures are layered up nicely as the track progresses, including some amazing subsonic bass. This is professional and well done. Soon enough, some basic electronic textures and Techno styled sounds arise. This music is actually really interesting sounding, and although there are hints of Dubstep about it, this is not pure Dubstep. A very postmodern and tripped out tune, this sounds different. A very good listen and although fairly repetitive, this has some excellent sounds and textures to it. A fairly minimal piece of music, but much better than your average Techno or Dubstep set. Towards the end is some cut-up vocal samples from Bladerunner once again. This ends with some panned rain sounds. Good effort.
Mexican Slayride begins with some eastern sounding windpipe, quickly followed by a vocal sample. It is a great vocal sample, followed by some Techno styled sounds and some interesting textures. This is a great sounding piece of music, although quite clearly, it will be too minimal for many. Some timpani styled drums are mixed into this piece as well. A very good tune for what it is, this is in a genre of its own compared to many other styles of music. This progresses along nicely, with some interesting background sounds as well. A really top and fine piece of music, this sounds extraordinarily interesting. More vocal samples enter in the second half before the track continues. If there is any major flaw to this music, it is that it is really repetitive. Despite that, this is a good example of imagination and electronics combined into the music that Horsepower Productions make. Various awesome samples from movies are here, and the whole thing is a good listen. It finishes with a vocal sample, simply stating, “Hold it!”
22 arrives next. It has some sampling shouting, some wind instruments playing and more film samples. A strange introduction, before the music and subsonic bass get kicking along nicely. A bunch of watery sounds and percussion enter, and this is another decent piece, this time with breakbeats and other sound effects. A really excellent and well made piece of music with some excellent and well positioned samples, this is Dubstep for those who like a more intellectual and different approach to the music at hand. A really different and interesting listen with snatches of conversation, string samples, Sitar and other unusual melodies that are really excellent, this is a truly intellectual EDM listen for those who want a repetitive, yet intellectual listen that is inspired by proto-Dubstep music and trends of the time. A wonderful and interesting tune, and it demands repeat listens, although it can be quite repetitive. Very different music, it just sounds like a true sonic trip. Some extra rolling breakbeats enter towards the end, sounding really excellent and clever. Nice job, it ends with some snatches of film styled music.
Water begins with some explosion sounds, some strange electronic sounds and a sample of a man’s voice speaking about nuclear aftermath. It discusses at length about controlling the source of water, before quickly launching into a very Dubstep styled groove that is decent and interesting. This is quite a percussive sort of listening experience from Horsepower Productions, and it definitely sounds different compared to most music. More voice samples are throughout this piece. This isn’t Skrillex per se, in fact it sounds a lot like intellectual Dubstep to listen to at home. A breakdown occurs with more related vocal samples, before quickly launching back into the electronic mayhem at hand. This is a very intense and listenable piece of music that is surprisingly interesting. In the second half are some interesting electronic sounds, followed by the sound of people having sex, which is weird. A very unusual piece of music that sounds strange and eerie, this is an intense listening experience. Percussive, well structured and mindblowing, Horsepower Productions deliver a good track better than any others on this album. Not bad.
Kingstep begins with some eerie string instrument samples, delayed snare drum hits and many strange ongoings on record. Some processed and cut up vocals follow, quickly followed by more typical sounding beats and textures from Horsepower Productions. This is very interesting music, and these guys obviously knew how to make the best from samples. There are some clear samples of Indian music in the background, which are unique and interesting. A really cool piece of music, although the flaw with these tracks are that they are very repetitive. In the middle is a great combination of sounds and beats synchronised together, it just sounds gloriously good. A very odd sounding piece of music, it certainly is EDM for those who have an open and intellectual mind. Some excellently processed drum delays are here, and this does sound amazing. Really cool and different, this is a great sonic journey. Good to hear. It ends with the processed delay drum sounds, a nice touch.
18th Special comes next, with some strangely processed Salsa/Samba style instrumentation and high pitched digital sounds to match. More unusual percussion then enters, with some cool vocal samples and screaming that follows. It quickly breaks into a more original sounding groove that is quite awesome listening and semi-danceable as well. Some samples of a voice saying, “like this!” are throughout, along with some other decent instrumental sounds. This is, in some respects, a good effort of samples, sound effects and textures. Once again, the music is fairly repetitive, which is a sore point of this record. Still, it maintains the groove and consistency throughout. The multitude of sampled screaming and saxophone samples are rather different, showing an eclectic edge to the music. A really cool piece of sonic textures and excellently deployed samples, this sounds semi-nightmarish at times as a track. A good piece of music and not for the faint-hearted. Towards the end, it changes completely with some flanger based singular sound effect, before going straight back into the mayhem with rolling bongo beats and other intermission styled sounds. The Salsa/Samba sounds return and towards the end, this piece finalises itself in a fade-out. Good, although rather lengthy.
Damn It – Extended Version begins with some very Psychedelic Indian styled sounds, quickly going straight into a heavy Breaks piece with some interesting and Progressive styled listening here. Police sirens and cars come in next, followed by a Bongo solo of sorts. There follows a multitude of sounds and samples, including funky guitar. This is certainly interesting, even if the music on this album drags on a bit, which it does. The screeching tyres and police sirens continue throughout, along with some Glitch styled sounds at times. A rather tripped out piece of music that, once again, relies heavily on vocal samples, this is certainly original and unique, although not as good as other pieces on this album as it doesn’t sound consistent at all. It’s good but too lengthy and repetitive to be truly enjoyable. The second half is much the same as the first half of the tune: repetitive, weird and a little disappointing. If the music length of these songs were edited down somewhat, this would be a much more easy listen to enjoy. However, this is not the case. A Reggae sort of weird, messed up breakdown occurs after some time into the second half, followed by a bunch of weird samples and sounds. It sounds rather awful towards the end, and this clearly needs to edited down heavily. It ends with bongo beats, looped police sirens and a feeling of deep disappointment. Too long, at nearly eight minutes long.
Lee Perry: Exercising – Horsepower Remix begins with some ethereal Sitar based sounds, crickets chirping and more bongo drums. Eventually, a bunch of other samples and textures enter which sound really unusual. This is quickly followed by deep sounding vocal samples, Indian background music as the track continues on. This is certainly different and eclectic, with snatches of piano throughout. It’s a better piece than the last track, but by this point, one can hear that this album is rather disappointing. There is plenty of subsonic bass throughout, but overall, this is rather unsatisfying listening. Anyway, it’s okay for what it is, but for a remix, it’s a bit much in terms of repetition and length. Some reggae vocals are here, but overall, this is rather ordinary music. In the second half are some interesting musical textures and Electronics, but this is flogging a dead horse by this point of the album. Especially given this is for a very small niche audience, this doesn’t go far. In any case, a good effort but not a great one from a fairly forgettable recording. Some chanting is present towards the end about marijuana, but aside from that, you are not missing out on much here. A dismal effort.
Poison Wine begins with some ethereal sounds, looped textures and some interesting sounds from the start. It is a different piece which is, once again, extremely repetitive with some more vocal samples. Some jungle styled percussion enters, as though it was intended to be a Tarzan tribute. This track, once again is good, but the repetitive nature of the music is annoying and some of the sounds and samples aren’t the greatest, particularly the vocal samples on this tune. It’s okay, but there is no real magic to this music, which means it falls flat. It is of a Progressive nature, but all the same, is largely disappointing. It’s not particularly catchy or worth a mention in most musical history resources out there. This track is particularly repetitive and uninspiring, it definitely could have been cut down in length. It is basically the same thing over and over again, and is deeply disappointing listening. After some time, you will want to hit the skip button, and yes, do so. It ends with a bunch of weird vocal samples. A rather terrible track, to be fair.
Open Up Your Eyes (feat. Katy B) – Classic Deluxe is the last track on this album. It’s a rehash from earlier Horsepower Productions that is okay, but once again, seemingly flogging a dead horse. The vocals on the top are good, but this is not great. An ordinary finish to a very ordinary album, if you want decent EDM, look elsewhere. Anyway, this is at least a lot shorter at under four minutes long. Still, like the rest of the album, the concept is not the greatest. It’s not a good sounding mix either, the vocals and track seem to run at cross purposes here. An ordinary finish to a disappointing album that is a waste of an hour. Find another album to listen to, if you can.
This is a very ordinary release that, quite frankly, could have been much better in retrospect. The samples, length and messed up variety do drag this album down. It’s a sad waste of an hour listening to this album which, towards the end especially, feels like pulling teeth in terms of its repetitive nature. There is much better music out there than this. This repetitive music is a let down, avoid if you can.
Pathetic and repetitious.
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