Shot Down on Safari / Best of the
label: System Recordings
our score: 4.5 out of 5.0
'n' Bass Rises from the (Critical) Dead
yeah, it's really fashionable to slag drum 'n' bass, or jungle,
or hardcore, or whatever you want to call that insanely fast and
funky genre of techno dance music. Roni Size came out with a hell
of an album last year, and you could almost cut the studied critical
indifference with a plastic spoon. "Oh, la, is HE still around
then? I didn't know ANYONE was still making that sort of music."
Well, that's all well and good for snobby
critics, but drum'n'bass is still thumping right along nonetheless,
especially in the UK (where I imagine Music-critic.com readers
might be wondering "what's he going on about then, jungle
is massive!"). And Bad Company UK is right at the head of
the pack. They are known for mixing in "dark" melodic
sounds over tight bazillion BPM rhythmscapes, and for keeping
the d'n'b fire lit, and these two discs provide different but
very valid introductions to their sound.
Down on Safari is their newest LP, and it's just flat-out
hot as hell. "Snow Cat" ricochets between something
like 1950s cop show music and something like a fun nightmare's
worth of robot beats. "Torpedo," last fall's big hit
in the clubs, is just a great funky sci-fi mess, with great old-sounding
samples about alien attacks ("No provocation, no warning,
no survivors!") and some of the most intense and furious
ProTools work to ever assault human ears or booty. Come to think
of it, there's no way to dance to anything this hard and fast
and doomladen ---- you just have to sit back and let it all be.
Other choice cuts include the wonderful
raggafied opener, "Mo' Fire," where $pyder's amazing
toasting anchors all that loud boomboom stuff, and "Wednesday,"
where they've taken a perfectly nice two-step lyric and sped it
the hell up so it sounds like Alvin the Chipmunk with Craig David's
careful facial hair. "Dosage" does illbient nicely,
and it's lovely to hear how far off the path they're willing to
go to make "The Hornet" sound creepy and freaky. Nine
tracks and every one scores solid body-blows, with "Dogsploitation"
and "Dr. Shevago" possibly uppercuts to the jaw.
the second disc is almost even better. Best of the Bad
is a mix greatest-of disc that goes through 21 BCUK hit club tracks
in about 55 minutes. You'll never hear a more skillfully-mixed
nor a better-sequenced d'n'b record. This is short attention span
theater for real, though; just when you get into something like
"4 Days" or "The Voice" it's gone to make
way for the next track. This can get a bit annoying, but then
you hear "Breathe" or "Nitrous" and all is
forgiven. Just watch out for "Brainscan," because that
track is so what's playing on the Blair Witch's car stereo.
So what's wrong with this two-disc package?
Um, nothing, really. It aims for everything it hits, and hits
everything it aims at.
liked Au Reve...
1. Mo' Fire (Radio Mix)
2. The Hornet
6. Dr. Shevago
7. Snow Cat
9. Jellybean (Instrumental)
1. Dogs on the Moon
2. Mo' Fire - feat. Rawhill Camp
3. 4 Days
6. Ladies of Spain
7. Thin Air
9. The Hornet
10. Planet Dust
12. Trick of the Light
13. The Voice
18. The Pulse
19. The Nine
20. Tumpa (Flashback)
21. Rush Hour