IsraTrance Senior Member
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Posted : Dec 5, 2014 23:58:53
I haven't written a review in a while, let alone finished one - I got really close earlier this year but then got side tracked - damn you Netflix! Anyhow, it is not every day I come across a release that I feel compelled to review - and Rabdom L's latest offering 'Datasphere' is definitely too damn good to pass up.
For those of you who don't know, Rabdom L is the brain child of Craig Hudson - aka Theskragg. He is one of the founding fathers of South Africa's Psytrance scene, involved with the legendary Timecode records from its inception alongside the likes of Shift, Phyx, Artifakt and Tickets to name a few. He is no stranger to the psytrance scene and if this is your first encounter with him - I am a little jealous because this man is a treasure trove of some A-Grade quality psytrance which will literally rip open your mind.
Enough fluff, let’s get to the point here. 'Datasphere' is Rabdom L's fourth solo EP - and the closest thing yet to a full length album yet. Released by Replicant Records (Australia) - a label that I have followed from its early days in 2012 - and who in my opinion - have a very very bright future ahead of themselves. Let's go ahead and break it down track per track:
1. Rabdom L vs. Deliriant - Datasphere (Rabdom L RMX) : So this track has an interesting story - originally called "Stratusfear" - the first version of the track was released back in 2010 on Rabdom L's first EP - 'The Katalyst' on Nexus Media. Since then, it has been remixed twice by Rabdom L. The second time it became "Ionosphere", released on the second Rabdom L EP - "Augment" - also on Nexus Media. And now comes his third crack at this track. It still bears many of the original elements - the long swooping soundscapes, the eerie melodies and ominous feelings - but the whole first 3-4 minute of the track is really tightly wound up. Never letting you go - it’s got that old school percussion arrangement (triples? is that what they are called?) - and this beast just keeps building. Finally the datasphere lands and the results are quite outstanding, a lot of the original elements leads are used and again, they are tweaked slightly, placed in new arrangements - really keeps listeners guessing especially if they are familiar with the older versions. This track lays the foundation for what you can expect from this EP, menacingly deep and twisted music. 8/10
2. Rabdom L vs Iliuchina - Beyond the Gates: In the twilight / night full on sub-genre today, there are many stylistic schools of sound that I feel can be used to classify the different acts out there. In this respect, there has only ever been one Rabdom L! The only other act who I thought came close was Iliuchina - especially with tracks like Towards Infinity - which Rabdom L remixed last year hehe. So the prospect of these two making a collaboration is HUGE! And I am happy to report that the results are nothing short of epic. Where Datasphere lets you sink in and find yourself - this track wastes no time to get running. It's mean, ruthless and both these acts do a great job of really meshing together their sounds. I especially enjoy the break towards the 4th minute, with those really eerie female leads which evolves into a spiraling frenzy of melody and energy. Great bit to see the meeting of the minds on the track. All in all - this is one rock solid track that deserves to be played on dance floors everywhere. 9/10
3. Radbom L - Kataloz - Next up we have 'Kataloz' which I feel like is a remix or re-edit of another Rabdom L classic - 'The Katalyst'. Regardless, this is the first solo offering on this EP and it does not disappoint. It's got a beautiful spacey theme going and where the last track was a ball of energy, this one drops more into super deep territory. Not so menacing as track 2 but just... epic. The melodies literally cry out to you, coupled with those nice warm pads - it’s hard not to immerse yourself in this roller coaster ride of emotions. The story evolves seamlessly, my only complaint might be that I feel like the track starts and stops a bit much, but that could just be me being greedy and wanting the nice crisp bass line to keep going and going .. So far this is my favorite track on the EP and is quintessentially what the Rabdom L sound is all about - immersive atmospheres, driving bass lines and haunting melodies. 9/10.
4. Rabdom L - Fraktalize: This one again takes the energy levels up a notch. Distorted leads, glitched FX and sound arrangements that somehow always throws just the right sound at you - this track is busy and wastes no effort to keeping you engaged at all times. The story is deep, ever evolving and has this cool distorted melody that keeps coming and going. What is really cool about this track is that the more you hear it - the more it grows on you, especially as you begin to pick up and appreciate the intricate layers that come together to make the whole package. Not my favorite track but definitely another stellar tune. 9/10.
5. Ex-Gen - Zombification (Rabdom L RMX): For those of you who didn’t know, Replicant Records in association with Ex-Gen recently hosted a remix competition for this monster track, which they released last year on The Replicants Vol.3 EP. So now that you are aware of the background and are more than likely familiar with the original track – throw everything you thought you knew about ‘Zombification’ out the window. This track should have been called Rabdom L – ification – because this track has been reconstructed to the point where it is unrecognizable. To clarify, I say that with a level of joy that I hope this review will do justice in conveying. Intelligent deep and with some really epic moments, especially the beautiful melody towards the end. That being said you do hear bits and fragments from the original, but there are so many new elements and I think the original leads were completely dropped or updated to the point where I could not recognize them. All in all though – this is yet another solid track and will for sure take the dead – zombify them – and then … uber zombify them for lack of an appropriate comparison. 9/10.
This is a very fulfilling release for fans of Rabdom L and the twilight/night full on genre as a whole and was totally worth the wait. This release that will be on my playlists for many many months to come – and given today’s landscape where there are so many releases – it is rare that I find myself engaged so thoroughly with an entire release. Kudos to Rabdom L and Replicant Records for yet another solid release.
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