Various – Get Your Wonk On (Sonic Dragon)

Posted in Reviews 2007 by - May 21, 2007

get your wonk on

Being honest is good, so I’m going to be honest. British DJ Tom Lurk, who compiled this album, is a good mate of mine. A very good mate of mine, in fact: I’ve known him in various states and on various continents for years, we’ve talked 13,576 hours of abject shit, and I’ve stayed at his house more times than anyone else I’ve ever known in my life (an utterly pointless bit of trivia that I only realised when sitting down to write this review.)

It came as something of a concern, then, when I learned he was compiling an album. Obviously I would be expected to provide a review, which would presumably go some way into deciding whether or not I would continue to receive Christmas cards from the Lurk family in the future.

It would probably be fair to say that Tom Lurk and I disagree with about 80% of what we think is brilliant, and agree with about 80% of what we think is shit. Somewhere in the middle there is evidently some sort of crossover, and happily that’s exactly where Get Your Wonk On sits.

The vibe here is sophisticated, understated, and rather cool. Much like Lurk’s DJ sets, there are no cheesy breakdowns; no dodgy keychanges, no Michele Adamson and no Raja Ram. He’s given space to fresh new talent (Hemi-Sync, Beatnik, Fromem_Ory), and of the more established acts (Fractal Glider, OOOD, Zen Mehanics, Rastaliens) he’s plucked artists who share a discernable common thread: groovy without being too funky, baggy without being lazy, focused without being moody.

None of these tracks will tear the roof off, but that’s sort of the point. The sequencing and selection all point to maintaining a tight vibe, like a slow-boiling casserole rather than a microwave vindaloo. This means, of course, that the album grows on you the more you listen to it – which is a good thing.

Rastaliens’ Chaos Theory is exceedingly fine, as is Beatnik’s appropriately wobbly Balloon Tricks. Braincell’s Total Control has some lovely little melodic flecks, although hearing that “LSD unsanity” sample again is something of a drain.

OOOD’s Starseeker has some of the finest trans-track progression around at the moment, a pure wide-eyed fantasy that picks up exactly the right amount of melody at exactly the right time. My personal favourite is probably the Flip Flop remix of Zen Mechanics’ New Propulsion Technology: you can hear Zen Mechanics in there, but you’re not sure where or how – and the spacing between the sounds is like an old friend with a wet nose to those of us who believe that less is more.

Your obvious reaction to this review is that I’m being cod-positive, telling you to buy a mate’s album because “it’s flawless”. It’s not flawless, nothing is: Touch Tone’s crisp, French-sounding Ammo sounds out of place amidst the other, far more solid tunes; and Fractal Glider’s Spherical has a melody that gets too silly. This may be the point, but it’s still silly.

Get Your Wonk On is another segment in the orange of decent new UK psytrance. It’s fresh, it’s fun, and it deserves points for sticking to its guns and not going over the top with big choons which, while selling well, make you want to cut your ears off. 

Confident, tight and unswervingly not gay. Tom, you’ve done well here mate.


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