VA – As Hard As It Gets (Boa Group)

Posted in Reviews 2009 by - July 20, 2009


As hard as it gets




I get sent a lot of shit from Israeli promotions company Electro Public, and from what I hear an awful lot of other people do as well. Generally folks have difficulty in saying “Electro Public” with a straight face, and CDs that make it into a CD player before hitting the great big bin in the sky are considered lucky.

You can imagine my surprise then, to discover something not quite shit coming out of my speakers.

The opening strains of A-Team’s  “U On Acid” is gritty, with a scouse woman saying ‘you must be high or somthin fockin stewpid like that’. Then there’s a massive buildup and it drops into funky, fat, bass-heavy delerium. Aye-aye, the reviewer thinks, this isn’t as shit as it looks (and from the cover, it looks really shit.)

Next up, Punchline’s New Reality, a track that starts off with a sample saying “experience is the new reality” (what is it with samples suddenly? Am I accidentally listening to an old 3D Vision comp?) before it fires off again — fluid, with melody sliding nicely over the top of an agitated, moody bottom-end that one might almost call ‘dark’. Layers cascade and add dynamism to an evolving groove that’s reminiscent of Absolum’s stronger output.

I scratch my head. This is actually… well… good.

I’m hearing Talamasca, I’m hearing Misted Muppet, I’m hearing midperiod Azax. More importantly, I’m hearing something that’s… well… good.

Bliss is making powerful and engaging music lately, a million miles away from his wet fish debut on Phantasm a few years ago. Here he is remixing Psysex’s Puzzle, one of the strongest tracks from one of psytrance’s unsung heroes, 2003′s Come In Peace CD. This, as we used to say in the trade, kicks like a muel, and despite a few disappointing stopstarts and floppy fullon bass runs (which I guess the enterprising can edit out with Ableton or whatever), it’s pretty smart stuff.

I’ve just heard three tracks on an Israeli label that are decent. I pop my head out the door to check that the sky is still where it used to be. I also discreetly check my genitals for any bizarre malformation and am happy to report that everything is more or less exactly as it was the last time I checked, in 2002 when a particularly punchy Earthling track had a strange yet wonderful affect on me.

We need the quality to dip, otherwise governments will collapse and the internet will die. Thankfully Painkiller vs Bio Genesis’ Chilakillers just about does the job. It’s silly and daft, it’s unsubtle, and it firmly follows the doctrine of dance music production that states ‘the shortest distance between two points is a straight line’.

Having said that, there is a certain  energy to the music that would make me stop in my tracks as I walk across the dancefloor, feeling engaged for a few moments before I plug my Walkman back in and climb a tree listening to The Smiths.

Azax Syndrom provides further evidence that he is a man increasingly bereft of ideas with Search & Destroy, sounding like it ate Chakra and Edi Mis for breakfast and has had a dodgy tummy all day. Whatever. I’ll say it again though, Azax is past it and if he’s reading this, he really ought to do us all a favour and pack it in.

Toxic’s Overdose is a meaty, engaging romp that’s only slightly marred by frequent bass cutouts, oh and also you DON’T NEED TO DO SOMETHING EVERY 32 BEATS CHAP. There’s nothing wrong with leaving the groove going so that we can get lost in the music and have a dance, THAT’S WHAT WE’RE HERE FOR.

Slug vs Lost & Found’s Synthetic is a disaster of a breakdown and drop, so it’s swiftly on to A-Team’s remix of Astral Projection’s One, which has all the elements of a bad track but, I concede, in exactly the right order which I suppose is something to feel faintly pleased about.

So it’s not perfect.

There’s a certain patchiness to As Hard As It Gets; I can’t help thinking that someone found four good tracks (probably 1,2,3 and 6) and then decided to make an album around it with other cuts that even a monkey can tell are inferior.

No offence to monkeys.

This post was written by psyreviews