Alien - The Pleasure Of Leisure
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Alien
The Pleasure Of Leisure

This is yet another artist in the long line in which I've had no prior knowledge about previous to purchasing their disc. All I knew about them was that they were on a label I had heard good things about, so I decided to give it a listen and see whether it would be worth a purchase. After only a couple tracks, I knew it was worth the discount used price (who gives up all the good stuff I find?), so I sprung for it and took it home to give it the listen proper. What I was greeted with was an electronic excursion that fell somewhere in between the sounds of Squarepusher's Hard Normal Daddy, the chunky breakbeat riffs of Hive's Devious Methods, and the snappy little d&b of Friend's HotRod.

The disc starts out with the electronic warbling and some random metallic snare hits on "Everything I Never Said" before the beats come in and get even more crispy and a pretty little melody drifts in over it all. After a bit, everything gets even more frenetic and a low end comes cruising into place behind things to drive it even more. The second track "Frankie The Prankster" ditches the ultra-fast breakbeats and instead slows them down into a distorted mess of futuristic hip-hop without vocals. The third track "Blind Summit" is sort of a strange marriage of the first two, combining the light little melodies and the speedy breakbeats of the first track with the hint of big, maimed beats to come. They never really do arrive, though, and instead the track pulls the listener along with those hinted harsh noises and a funky little keyboard line. Stopping over in a little more organic territory, the fourth track employs the use of a nice little slide guitar solo, while the fifth one goes with a bit of saxophone. Instead of falling into the EZ roller drum and bass rut, though, the track keeps things fresh with a fairly inventive beat and other odd bits of sound.

Still, the album is at its best when it leaves all the recognizable sounds in the dust. The album titled seventh track might as well be the sequel to Squarepusher's "Beep Street" from his Hard Normal Daddy with it's super-speedy snare rushes and light little melodies that drift and flit over everything. While it's a little lighter than a lot of the tracks on the disc and doesn't contain any really hard beats at all, it's also probably the catchiest track on the entire release. Things stay interesting, though, and with "The Return Of Rat Phink," things linger for a little while with sort of an ambient drone, but soon bust out into a huge electro-funk breakbeat that completely rocks. After a couple tracks that eschew the breakbeats for slower, more throbbing rhythms, the disc closes with the almost ambient "A Killer In The Family." While what sounds like an electronic digeridoo plays in the background, some light sprinkles of piano and bleeps drift in and out of the foreground. It helps to wind things down nicely for the disc and leaves you wanting to hit replay all. Overall, the disc is a very solid effort from a group that I still haven't heard much about. If you're into the wacky beats and light melodies or any of the above mentioned artists, you're probably not going to go wrong here.

rating: 7.510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00