Various artists album review
Round One To Round Five
May 12, 2003
original release 1994 on 12" - MSR-02 / BC-06
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 4||Sleeve : 4|
This is the CD release compiling five 12"s that have been released by Berlin dub-techno duo Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus a.k.a. Rhythm & Sound on their Main Street label, about which more can be read, like on their other Basic Channel-labels, in the article Rhythm & Sound...Jamaican hallucinations in stripped-down slowmotion. The album opens with the ROUND ONE 1994 recording of what can be best described as a soulful vocal house track "I'm Your Brother" by Andy Caine. A tune already sounding much more experimental and exciting in the "Chicago's Twisted Mix" by Ron Trent - who recorded the seminal house track "Altered States" when he was only 15 years old - and his recording partner Chez Damier for their own Nature Productions. The "Quadrant Dub II" by Moritz von Oswald & Mark Ernestus themselves has tribal influences in its dubby approach, and has recently been rereleased on clear vinyl (instead of the original multi-coloured edition) on their Basic Channel label. ROUND TWO from 1995 once again features the beautiful soulful vocals of Andy Caine in the "New Day Club Mix", that completely disappear in the "Dub" showing the rhythm on ROUND TWO has already taken a different direction than the standard house this album took off with. ROUND THREE released in the same year features Paul St.Hilaire, whose works like "Showcase w/ Rhythm & Sound" as well as his recent self produced "Unspecified" can't be praised too much. His immediately recognizable voice graces the "Acting Crazy Club Mix" and the rhythm once again moves closer from house to the deeper dubbed side of techno for it, and for the "Instrumental". ROUND FOUR, originally released in 1998 shifts the balance further to the dubbed up vocals of Paul St.Hilaire in "Find A Way", and the rhythm gets more and more resemblance to a riddim. An absolutely brilliant track, which even if you have already enjoyed the previous tracks and the progress towards this sound (that is familiar to everyone who has heard the two Paul St.Hilaire albums mentioned above) is sheer magic and joy. The dubby soundscapes are magnificent, and can be fully experienced aided by the average duration of the tunes, at least 6 minutes, with a couple clocking in far over 9. It adds even more power to the repetitive loops, if these are presented as exciting as is the case here. ROUND FIVE makes very clear that this album tells a story of a sound in progress, as it is obvious the best has been saved for the last two tunes. The moody, gloomy "Na Fe Throw It" has Paul St.Hilaire excelling once more with almost sung-spoken lyrics, over a dubby tapestry that is easily recognizable as the very own and typical sound of Rhythm & Sound as we now know it. Its "Version" brings this album after more than 70 minutes to a close, with the silence thereafter still feeling like a rude wake-up call when you have been completely drawn into this music. Whether your primary interest is the soulful voice of Andy Caine over the house beats, or Dominican born Paul St.Hilaire's smooth voice suiting the deep bass and minimalistic organ, percussion effects and digital techno/house/dub-riddims of his German producers as if these were meant to be combined: this album is an absolute must have for anyone with a faint interest in experimental dub, and anyone able to see dub as a particular kind of soundscapes. Highly recommended!Souljah.