Monday, 4 October 2010

New Album Reviews

Magnetic ManMagnetic Man album review

Magnetic Man is the new monika of 3 of dubsteps most respected producers/artists consisting of DJ’s Benga, Skream and Artwork. From this albums first single “I Need Air” (released this summer) on Columbia they were already pushing the envelope in the genre and gaining more fans in high places both sides of the Atlantic with both their music and impressive live show with along with their triple threat mix of drums, bass and loops/samples combined with light show have brought their brand to the masses.

This album on paper seems like it might be a case of “too many cooks spoil the broth” but in fact everyone contributes their individual areas as part of a well oiled machine. It seems like ego’s were checked at the door and everyone was pulling together for the bigger picture.

Guests on the album include the comeback kid Ms Dynamite on the track “Fire” (with her best dancehall licks), Katy B who is climbing the greasy pole and making her mark with 2 contributions here both definite highlights to the whole, including “Crossover” with its deep reverb laden bass line and almost early Massive Attack chill out production and “Perfect Stranger” definitely a bench mark of this collection of songs, harking back to a more jungle-orientated anthem mixed with a old skool almost New Order era drum loop for the chorus probably orchestrated by Benga (a live drive aficionado) as opposed to the more drum machine/sample choices of Skream. “Boiling Water” features Sam Frank in this breaks heavy and autotuned (arrrrgh!) track.

Worthwhile but a little bordering on filler with some of the other tracks including “Ping Pong” with its cascading arpeggio keys motif but fails to really go anyway where as “Box Of Ghosts” with its very minimal simplistic production show that sometimes less isn’t always more.

Strings and orchestration have played an important part on this LP and this is one of the avenues the collective (I refuse to use the term supergroup) have explored. “Karma Crazy”, Flying Into Tokyo” both are lifted by the dramatically overblown string arrangement mixed with the growling bassline giving us an almost dubstep Bond theme.

The album finishes off with another guest appearance but unlike artists in the rock and pop field each selection here have been chosen by what contribution the artist can make rather than trading off their name to sell a few more units and John Legend on the closed “Getting Nowhere” is no exception. His smooth vocals give the track a shine and professionalism that will definitely get this group and record the recognition that they deserve and finish the song cycle in style.

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