Milanese - Extend
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Extend is the debut album from Milanese and it's easily one of the deepest, darkest albums I've heard in some time. A sand-blasted mixture of dubstep, grime, crunchy IDM, and hip-hop, it's a thunderous release full of crushing low-end, layer upon layer of distorted beats, fractured vocals, and basically some real raw nastiness nearly all the way around. With ten tracks running roughly forty minutes, it's one of those short albums that's gives a quick kick in the teeth then ends just as you're re-orienting yourself.

The album opens with what is easily the best couple of tracks on the disc. "Mr. Bad News" absolutely hammers away for just over six minutes with growling heaves of bass, air raid sirens, some crunched-out beats, and horror-show string swells while distorted raga-style vocals. "Dead Man Walking" follows, and Virus Syndicate contributes some spit-fire vocals that fit perfectly alongside tromping rhythms that crunch with loads of feedback, samples of screams, and queasy droning moans.

Considering the first two tracks of claustrophobic, zombie grime, the lighter female vocals of "Caramel Cognac" are a bit of a shock to the system when they first roll out, and the surrounding instrumentation (which still contains plenty of crunch) lightens up ever so slightly around them. The beats are still dirty as heck, and the bass is thick enough to churn your stomach, but horn samples and some hand-percussion samples seem to take the edge things just a bit.

Those hoping for track after track of the same might find themselves a smidgen frustrated by the album as a whole, as while the first half of the disc is nearly uniformly excellent (especially the cracking "Mr. Ion"), the latter portion of the release stumbles a bit in places. "Sight Beyond Sight" is a perfect example, creating a nice mood with some drifting eerie drones, but drilling everything into the ground with uninspired beat work and an overlong running length. Meanwhile, the final three tracks of the release power into sheer noise in places, ditching the beats altogether in what sounds like an attempt to challenge fellows like Kevin Drumm to a throwdown. In the end, Extend plays out more like a great EP with a couple tosser tracks than a solid full-length, but it's definitely a solid first step from Milanese.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2006-11-30 18:28:30