CD, Deadsix Communications, 2008
Having already written a review for an earlier Murder by Static album, I can throw this album on the (generic and over-rated) Cartesian plane to get a general trajectory of the music. “Danceland Dead” is definitely higher on the Y-axis – meaning the music is improving exponentially. With the two prior releases, I felt like I was listening to either somewhat mild IDM or not-yet exciting breakcore. This might have been largely to do with having an unbalanced mix, or having very thin bass sounds. These problems seem to have been corrected on this album, making for a great listening experience provided that you have a sub-woofer (kind of sounds crappy over a pair of earphones). If you enjoy the dominating bass of many of the more popular breakcore artists such as Venetian Snares, you’ll probably enjoy this release.
There’s a lot on this album that reminds me of late-90s jungle. Tracks such as “Hedule Grind” and “Dionemesis,” stand out for their great use of a hardcore kick thrown in with some breaks. While listening to “Hedule Grind,” I did get kind of annoyed with its cliché use of the generic rap samples. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, almost every breakloop sample-CD you buy/download contains these annoying vocal samples (like an overproduced sound of some twit saying “Bass!”). For a long time, it seemed like it was impossible to encounter a jungle track without those samples. This is unfortunate, because if it wasn’t for that sample “Hedule Grind” would probably be the best sounding track on the album.
This actually leads to my main complaint about “Danceland Dead”, and many jungle albums I’ve heard: the use of generic pitch-bent hip-hop samples is getting annoying as hell. There’s a plethora of vocal samples out there, that could give any instrumental track much more character and an iconic quality (face it, how many shitty tracks have you forced yourself into liking simply because of an amusing or indexical sample?). Well if this album were to do that, I think it’d be much more fun to listen to.
The contrast in the album is visible on practically every-track with a mix of ambient-pad sounds, a large arsenal of percussion samples (yes! I think heard cowbells and several gongs), and the ever present fast-paced hard-pounding 4/4 kick. However, this is also one of the main holes in the album, like most music that implores the hardcore kick, there’s simply no room for a bassline. So if you are one of those folks who desperately clings to basslines, you probably won’t like “Danceland Dead”.
However, this album distills the love you may (or may not) have for late-90s jungle, and filters it through a more updated feel. While you may have a hard time remembering the individual tracks (possibly do to un-comprehensive titles), it’s a great album to listen to as a whole and highly recommended for dicing vegetables or angering your neighbours while drinking your morning coffee. The potentiality of this artist is growing – though not quite at the rate of a stock bubble – and I’m excited to hear the next release.
— Lemmy S.