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London Elektricity: "Billion Dollar Gravy"
(****)

Covert art

Drum'n'bass with soul - a summer album

Why is this album so brilliant? Simple. It successfully mixes the hard drum'n'bass action of Ed Rush & Optical with sweet triphoppish, soulful melodies. Think Ed Rush & Optical with Portishead, only with the melodies being less sour. That's basically what this album is about. Pure summer goodness, with organic drum programming - not all that darkstep synthesized stuff or overused breakbeats, but instead more groovy and natural drumming.

"Billion Dollar Gravy", the appropriately positioned title track got me pumped up from the first moments. When the drums break out you wish the rest of the album would be just like the opening track - and as you'll find out, it pretty much is. When you first take the disc out of the box, you're struck with a simple yet impressive phrase: "they tell me life is beautiful ..." And indeed, the most beautiful and quite haunting track on the album, "The Great Drum + Bass Swindle" consists lyrically of pretty much just that phrase. A progressive track that simultaneously kicks ass with the drum- and basswork and stops you dead in your tracks in the melodic breaks. My favourite track here.

"Different Drum" lives up to its title, being a very atypical drum'n'bass track. There's even a piano line in the melodic break. Right down to the lyrics and instrumentation, this could have been a blues track, but now it's drum'n'bass. And a very compelling track at it.

We get one slow number with "Born To Synthesise" - a nice listen, but not overly impressive. I can't really say that the album fails terribly at any given point, although a few tracks do get a bit less playing time than others for me. The album does shift from a fairly unified soundscape in the first half to a more varying one in the second half. "Syncopated City" is not as spacious as the tracks in the first half and "My Dreams" reminds me of Photek on Solaris with the detroit influence less visible, cloaked in drum'n'bass.

Because someone else has already said it best, I'll finish up with a quote from the back of the cover: Drum'n'bass is set to enjoy a summer of love, and this album will surely be it's soundtrack.

TOP TRACKS: Billion Dollar Gravy, Different Drum, Fast Soul Music, The Great Drum + Bass Swindle

Tracklist

  1. Billion Dollar Gravy [Sample]
  2. Different Drum [Sample]
  3. Fast Soul Music
  4. To Be Me
  5. The Great Drum + Bass Swindle
  6. Cum Dancing
  7. Main Ingredient
  8. Harlesden
  9. My Dreams
  10. Born To Synthesise
  11. Syncopated City
Image of CD

Hospital Records 2003

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Review by Saboteur


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