Strategy - Drumsolo
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Drumsolo's Delight

Dub-infected minimal electronic music is pretty hard to pull off in an original way anymore. About 6 years or so ago, it seemed like the genre was just starting to bloom (with some of the first work by Pole, as well as some releases on the Mille Plateaux label), but as with many sub-genres in the electronic music world, it seems to have been done and redone way too many times in the last half-decade. Although you may be expecting something a little more pumping based on the title of "Drumsolo's Delight," this 7 track release by Strategy is in fact very mellow release that mixes soft washes of melody with subtle programming.

Strategy is the solo work of one Paul Dickow (also a member of the groups Fontanelle and Nudge) and he combines the aforementioned minimal dub programming with a healthy dose of granular sound (somewhat similar to the gauzy washes that Gas seemed to master over the course of 4 albums) for a slightly new wrinkle on the sound. Most of the time tracks progress at a very slow rate, making for an album that plays best nocturnally. "Canadian Nights" is nothing more than a meandering low-end bassline that wobbles over a couple quiet layers of fluttering filtered electronics, while "Super Shewolf Inna City" again sends nicely woven washes of sound skimming over a rhythm that could either be a bassline or minimal beat programming.

The biggest problem of the album is that a good portion of the tracks just seem to start and then go on for awhile without ever progressing that much. Both of the aformentioned tracks just sort of move forward on very subtle variations of the same theme while tracks like "Final Super Zen" sound very nice but just sort of meanders around without much focus either. "Walkingtime" breaks things up with some filtered, soulful vocals that neither really add nor take away from the track, while the nearly 12-minute closer of "The Jazzy Drumsolo" is oddly enough the most interesting track on the album in terms of moving from one place to another. Opening with a sample of rain and then slowly progressing through several quiet movements, it takes the best things about the release and combines them into a track that works quite nicely. In the end, I feel like I've unfortunately heard very similar to much of this before, but fans of the aforementioned or the ~Scape label in general might really dig.

rating: 6.2510
Aaron Coleman 2004-04-22 00:00:00