Uberzone – Ideology (2007)

Nobody does the hybrid of techno and breakbeat better than Uberzone do. This album is a good one. It features a variety of tracks and instrumentation. Let’s dive in and have a listen.

Okay begins our cyber journey into bliss. With robotic voices and a great beat kicking along, it sounds so different to everything else out there it is refreshing. It’s a good introduction to this album. It must be heard to be believed. There are acid sounds here too, a nice touch. The breakdown sounds great here as well.

4 Bit sounds so 1980’s in a good way that it makes one feel nostalgic. The beat kicks in, and what a beat it is! The grinding bassline makes this song greater than your typical EDM piece. Overall, this album so far is a great sonic trip. This tune is enjoyable as well. There are many unique sounds in the music here, a great piece to listen to when the mood strikes. It fades out mysteriously.

The robotic nature of this sort of music returns with Vibrate. It’s a great piece for those who like this sort of music. It’s surprisingly dance able as well, given the genre of music that this is, despite the fact it is clearly for home listening. A great futuristic and robotic sounding track. It has some highly intelligent sounds here, likely mostly original too.

The unusual Satisfaction follows. No, it’s not the hit by Benny Benassi either. It’s just a good tech-breaks style romp. Some great sounds are found here, which are individual, idealistic and creative. An epic and excellent listen, with some great drum sounds in the middle of the track. Acid noises return as well, just for the ride. A nice piece.

Ideology is the title track, and it starts rather slowly. It’s more laidback than the other tracks here, with some unusual theremin like melodies. It seems quite melancholy here, but still is as consistent as the rest of the album. It’s a good, but not great piece when the mood strikes. Sounds a lot like Radiohead in their Kid A or Amnesiac phase, in fact. It ends with a clock ticking.

FUBAR is much more like it. It’s an excellent and catchy driven piece to boot. It is the sort of tune that could be stuck in your head for days. It’s a wonderfully intriguing listen, so put on your headphones and listen to it. It’s rather more progressive than other EDM tunes out there, too.

The next piece, Alphawave, is a great rhythmic piece with some unusually modified vocal samples as well. It has some great drum sounds as well. It’s just a kickass track with some awesome TB-303 sort of sounds to hear as well. This album is very consistent throughout, always a good thing for the listener. It sounds like it was recorded it 3007, not 2007. A great sonic experiment done well.

The next one sounds apocalyptic. Germs sounds freaky and futuristic. It has a basic rhythm, acid sounds and mechanical melodies to entrance you. It is no doubt one of the better ones on this album, and is musically structured very well.

Geisha samples some Geisha talk in Japanese. It’s a lot slower than some of the other tracks on this album, but sounds like a good head trip all the same. It’s brief, but a good listen.

Funny Noise is another robotic creation from Uberzone. It’s a great deal better than the last couple of tracks, but still very consistent overall. It just flows nicely this album. It’s a robotic and musical project intertwined in a great effort. In the middle of this track, we have a great dancefloor piece. Even through headphones at home, this album is a winner. This track is no exception in this regard.

The short Inner Space is a semi-ambient piece that lets you drift into outer space. There’s not much to it, but it is a nice addition to the album.

The next tune, M87, sounds like a sort of Dub like piece. It’s got some laidback beats and psychedelic noises in it. Whoever said that postmodern music was bad? Uberzone make great tunes, and this album is proof of that. This track sounds like a Sonic The Hedgehog video game soundtrack, no joke.

Black Hole has some strummed acoustic guitar and some real life sounding beats. It sounds different, but good all the same. There is a variety of sampled instrumentation here, from pianos to bongos. It breaks down into silence at the end.

Yes speaks for itself. No comments required for an 11 second track.

The extra track Octopus (Bonus Track) is a solid listen itself. It should have been placed on the original album, but fortunately it is found on some releases of the album. We finish our sonic journey, satisfied with the outcome.

This sort of music is regularly overlooked by critics and consumers alike. However, it is clear that perfect techno + perfect breaks = Uberzone. Do yourself a favour and have a listen to this if you haven’t done so already.

8/10

Layo & Bushwacka! – Night Works (2002)

In the 21st century, musically we have never had it so good. Breakbeat in this century is vibrant and interesting.  Many genres of music go well with a breakbeat style rhythm. The British duo known as Layo & Bushwacka! delivered this album, a great listen in breakbeat from start to finish.

Let’s dive in.

Vinyl begins with some rather unusual sounds, sounding rather dark and foreboding. It’s a short introduction to the record, and a good one too.

Ladies And Gentlemen is next, which is also quite short. It has some interesting sounds in it, and a spoken word part. It’s a good way to kick-start the whole recording, and we enter into this listen with style.

Then we have the brilliantly good Shining Through. This piece has bongos galore, a great breakbeat rhythm and some Asian style sounds. It’s a fantastic track, and received much airplay in the EDM scene at the time. It is really that good, worth listening. You can dance to this piece as well, if you wish to. It’s a classic piece.

A very short piece with a middle eastern melody, Sahara, is next. It’s tripped out, and is proof of the mixing abilities of the duo.

We Meet At Last comes next. It has some dark sounds to boot and takes a while to really kick off. It’s not as good as the previous tracks, some of the sounds here are poor choice in the mix. But still, it’s a good effort from Layo & Bushwacka!

Mainlining follows and has a semi psychedelic feel to it. It has some plucked guitar parts, before seguing into the next piece.

The piece that comes next is Let The Good Times Roll. It has some African like melodic singing in it, possibly blues influenced, before hitting us with some good beats to spare. It’s an unusual piece, but given breakbeat’s huge ability to cross into almost any genre, is very good to hear. It’s rather melancholic in its melodies too.

The next arrival is All Night Long, sounding very quiet at the beginning. It flows into pseudo techno beats, and is a good piece to hear. It has some catchy vocal melodies in it as well, reminiscent of Scatman. This is a standout effort on the album, it should be listened to.

Strike is a seven second warping transition into the next piece. Nothing much to say about it given its length.

Sleepy Language arrives next, and boy! It is an awesome 21st century piece. It’s a good listen for when the mood strikes, featuring a great range of samples and ingenious production by the duo. Great work here. Perfect for late night listening.

The following piece, Blind Tiger, is a laidback piece sampling a blues singer and is just chilled as a listen. Good use of delay based sound effects are here. A chugging piano and great saxophone is in the middle here, followed up with a descending bass line. It’s an interesting listen for sure.

The interlinking piece Automatic sounds very machine like. It has some psychedelic sounds which are interesting, before launching into the next piece.

Love Story is a quiet but melodic piece indicating the emotion at hand. It has techno beats in it as well. It’s a good instrumental that is reminiscent of Underworld. Not bad at all. It has an odd midsection to it, before bouncing back to the beats.

2mrw starts off with digitally enhanced beats and sounds IDM like. It jumps into a computerised and futuristic style of song that is fresh and interesting.

The remix entitled Love Story (vs. Finally) (Bushwacka! bootleg version) is very simple and catchy. It’s a good bonus addition, and a subtle, funky listen. The vocal piece in the centre is brilliant.

Following is It’s Up To You (Shining Through) (Radio Mix) which is a great remix of Shining Through with great vocals added. It’s good to hear such variety here, and goes well on this place of the album.

Let The Good Times Roll (Reworked) is another short remix, but a very good one, bringing in more catchy elements to the music at hand. It’s punchy and danceable. Very good effort.

Where Did We Go Wrong? seems to sound just awful. Good thing it is at the end of the album and that most of the rest of the album is listenable. Let’s pretend that this cut did not exist for the most part, it’s ordinary. Even the vocals on this are bad per se. And once this awful track is over, we conclude our journey.

This album is a decent listen overall. For those who love atmospheric sounds and mixed in with breakbeats, be sure to check out this album. You may enjoy it immensly.

7/10

DJ Icey – DJ Icey Presents Y4K (2006)

DJs are not to be underestimated in the 21st century. Their ability to hone a decent mix and utilize their own craft is something special, and something that has not been done so before much in the history of music.

This mix is a good one. It’s filled with awesome tracks to sink your teeth into. If you love the sound of breakbeats, or just new something cool for a change, no doubt here is a good place to begin,

We begin with Merka’s I’ll Be Here. It’s a simple and minimalist track which leads into the mix in general. It’s nothing special, but a good start to the mix.

Following up is a rather deep and meaningful track. IIs’s Loving You (Atomic Hooligan Remix) is a good example of vocals, breaks, and beats mixed together into a good piece. It’s sonically reassuring, given the piece itself. Worth listening to.

Plodout by Vlad follows, and it’s just that, but never gets dull to listen to. It combines some beats and some basic electronic sounds to boot. It’s a good one.

Feelin’ Kinda Strange (Bass Kleph & Nick Thayer Remix) by the Drummatic Twins arrives, and this mix really kicks off. It’s so catchy you’ll be dancing for days to it. It has a bunch of killer sounds and samples, with a climax that is euphoric. Killer.

After that, we have This Feelin’ (Boy 8-bits Grindhouse Mix) by AB/DC and it has some warm sounds throughout. It’s an okay track but serves as an anticlimax after the previous tracks, which is a little disappointing.

The next track is a highlight. Like This (Main Mix) by Artcrime samples John Lennon screaming and has a bunch of interesting sounds, samples, and breakdowns to keep one interesting whilst listening. It’s awesome.

Never Gonna Stop The Show by General Midi is a good rap/breaks piece. It is direct and to the point, and just fits in well with the rest of the mix here. It’s good to hear some decent rap for a change.

Come Closer by DJ Icey himself is theatrical, and brilliant. It samples a lady asking for some, and has some great acid like sounds in it. It’s a great touch to the mix.

The following piece, The Ride by Move Ya! and Steve Lavers is a futuristic romp through music. It’s awesome no doubt, but also by this point in the mix, we can recognise the greatness of the overall mix. Just fantastic.

The next one is acid galore. Everybody Get Up (Circuit Breaker Remix) by Transformer Man has a bunch of great rhythms to boot as well. It fits into the mix nicely.

San Pedro by DJ Icey is a much more chillax sort of vibe by DJ Icey himself. It settles down the party like atmosphere after the previous few tracks. DJ Icey is an accomplished musician, by all means.

All Your Love (Deekline & Wizard Club Mix) by Deekline is a strange one, with pounding beats and cut up vocals that make no sense whatsoever. It fits the bill nicely, however.

If there is one track to dislike on this mix, it is likely this one. Grizzle (Vlad & Ardisson Remix) by Smithmonger & Kobi is dull and drags on quite a bit. Still, it has its place here on the mix.

We end the DJ mix with DJ Icey’s Nikita. It’s okay but sounds as though the mix is a little burned out at this point. We conclude it after 5 minutes of solid listening.

For anybody who is a fan of EDM or similar types of electronic music, this compilation is worth tracking down. It is much better than you’d expect from a Breakbeat artist, and it is a good solid hour or so of listening. If you love breaks and beats, look no further. DJ Icey does very well here.

9/10