This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
White Noise: Araabmuzik – Electronic Dream

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Araabmuzik – Electronic Dream

Streetz Tonight

Make It Happen


Most notable for being part of the new wave of cheap but taut gangsta rap producers alongside Clam's Casino and producing for the likes of Cam'ron, no one could have expected Araabmuzik's debut LP to be Electronic Dream, which is truly a genre unto itself. Surprises like this often bring interesting fusions out of the music world, and this is no exception as a curious fusion of 90s trance and instrumental hip hop; euphoric synths battered by knife-edge hip hop beats, all ruled over by original vocal samples from trance classics. However across this album another less pleasant fusion becomes apparent, that of a supremely talented producer who has no care for audio fidelity in his releases.

This is in some part understandable as the Youtube and download generation is used to hearing mushy beats streamed at 120, but where quality is usually only considered problematic to audiophiles with high end speakers, here it poses more of a problem than it might be expected to. Put simply, trance was always a genre where purity and clarity reigned supreme to create a euphoric experience: what's more transcendent than hearing the purest rising synth line courted by sensual female vocals touting euphoria while you're rushing your way into oblivion? And so here when the tracks are irritatingly mushy and garbled it hurts, such as on the brilliantly dark and tense Underground Stream in which scaling synths duel with aggressive beats to create a paranoid soundscape. The song breaks midway through for a climactic rush of extreme tension in thrashing drums and synths, but the quality of the sound itself takes any emotive reaction out of the equation because these noises sound like they're being dragged through mud, all the synths run a straight course and the beats shatter unpleasantly when they hit the unexpected ceiling instead of reverbing in the way a listener would expect.

Nor is this the only of the album's problems. There was a darkside to trance music, and I'm not talking bad-trip synths; this is the overblown arpeggios and catastrophic lyrics that sometimes accompanied well-intentioned dance tracks, and this side of trance unfortunately gets its time on this album. Tracks like Electronic Dream and Golden Touch sound smooshy and dull, and sampled lines like “Fall in love with music / fall in love with dance / fall in love with anything that makes you want romance” are cringeworthy and take appreciation away from the consistently top-notch production skills on display here. On top of this, the frequently sampled “You're now listening to Araabmuzik”, while indeed evoking the idea that the track's well-produced transitions create that this is to be listened like a continuous DJ set, interrupt the flow of the LP to a certain extent and feel unnecessary outside of a club scenario... yes, I know what I'm now listening to, thanks.

However I started with the negative to get it out of the way, because there are an awful lot of positive aspects to this album too. Araabmuzik's use of samples is often inspired, such as in standout second track Streetz Tonight in which a more laid back sound is adopted and the vocal line is continuously almost allowed to soar before being beaten back into place by hard beats with a deep reverb that creates a nuanced tension in the production which works exquisitely. The track almost adopts a verse-chorus structure between the two vocal samples used, and it rises majestically and euphorically like the best trance did 15-odd years back. Added to this, the second half of the album is notably stronger than the first. This is hinted at in Free Spirit's great synth line and Make It Happen's dangerously racing melody that fuses brilliantly with the beats towards the end of the track, but the whole sound really comes into its own in the last few tracks.

Lift Off begins with one of the most classic Ibiza-trance synthlines possible, but somehow it all works instead of feeling clichéd, probably because of those well-placed beats throughout. An eerie melody creeps through that adds another element to a simple but great track. This feeds into obvious album standout AT2 in which Araabmuzik harks most clearly to the gloriously druggy production of today's Southern rap and Low End Theory's beat-scientists, sparkling with lush production detail and really taking the listener on the journey that traditional trance so often evoked. Let It Go is another more euphoric take, slowing the pace with one of the best-implemented samples on the record. However this prize should go to final track Lost In A Maze, the only cut in which the trance vocals are allowed to run their course without sounding cringey, with well-textured percussion courting the sample with lush production details like the magical harp sound that takes the track to another level.

Araabmuzik hasn't used the most discipline in creating this album, either in terms of sound quality or excising some of trance's worse motifs, but when the mind of the producer is this sharp and instinctive, and especially when listened to as a whole, it's hard to care too much. What we have here is a fascinating fusion between genres that honestly works much more than it has any right to.


Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home