Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Between Zero And One
Mystic Red Corporation
Mystic Red Corporation
CD
15-10-1999

Track list
  1. Zero
  2. Patience
  3. Wise Dub
  4. Pan Zero
  5. Walkie Talkie
  6. Fast Track
  7. Slow Trek
  8. Re Call
  9. One
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : - Backing : 4 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
Up until now, Mystic Red Corporation's music has been confined to limited edition 10-inch singles - not that this debut CD contains anything so rudimentary as past releases, y'understand. Instead Mystic Red Corporation prefer to put out music according to mood and circumstances, hence these tracks were compiled irrespective of age or commercial appeal. It's the sound, texture and feel of each track they're concerned about, and such considerations have now yielded an album of rare, hypnotic beauty that could easily be described as ambient or trance by the unwary, since this set is strongly rooted in black music forms than most albums found under that particular heading. It was entitled "Between Zero And One" on account of Mystic Red Corporation searching for notes that lay beyond the reach of conventional equipment. That's not to say that the music contained on it is at all freaky or avant garde, since there's enough familiar ground covered here to satisfy anyone able to appreciate reggae, dub, jazz and even a little calypso. There are nine tracks altogether, but this is definitely an album that has to be heard in its entirety, and preferably for a full, uninterrupted 43 minutes. There's not a vast range of samples, loops, beats used in its construction: a shoestring budget and a desire to unveil the very soul of their music has seen to that. What we do get are acoustic sounding basslines, tracing footsteps across a musical landscape of soothing, yet rhythmic instrumental sounds that can include fluent guitar picking, oriental woodwind, nyabinghi drums, guts of electronic wind and even the occasional steel pans, but which never fail to create atmosphere and, yes, ambience. Whilst there are plenty of other, much heralded experimental music groups or individuals who have used reggae as a springboard, Mystic Red Corporation are different in that they have come up from reggae grassroots, and so have an instinctive knowledge of what's genuinely progressive, and what would otherwise be merely parasitic. It's therefore little wonder that their label has slowly, but surely built up a cult following over the last couple of years. With additional financial backing and some decent promotion behind their releases there's no telling what they'd capable of, but on this evidence it'll be something rather special.
Writer : John Masouri
Reprinted from "Echoes", week ending the 25th of September