Sunday, November 19, 2006

Bassil Taleb - Starlights Of China

Hear The Track Here

In the present world state it is heartening to see that Soundclick plays host to all countries and nationalities, and has if to prove the point here is (a new name to me) Bassil Taleb. He's an electronica artist from Damascus, Syria and I guess the reason I haven't come across him before now is because Soundclick's electronica forum frightens me :D It's a scary place alright, full of shady coves and dark, edgy corners and some of the loudest denizens of Soundclick in daily attendance. Having said that, over the years I have accrued a great many favourites from the genre so I guess I should get off my Hurling Insults soapbox and revert to normality. Or whatever version of normality I can rustle up in my feeble state of mind.

A few years ago I had the unlucky fate of being Moderator of the forums over at Ejay, not because I was a big fan of the software but because it had one of the best blend of musicians around at the time. Sure, a lot of them did use Ejay, but not for very long. So seminal was this site to the scene most of us experience daily that their names are very, very familiar: Slippy T, Xanthe, Alderman, AndyF, Magnu, Youth, The Delivery System and many more I can't remember right now. The one thing we all learned back in the day was to never judge something at face value; having just reviewed at least two of those artists and known their earlier Ejay work, the distance covered is truly striking. So, when I'm listening to an Ejay made track - as Starlights Of China is - I always tend to cut the track a break because of the limitations of that software (in whatever version).

Where I won't cut a track a break is when it has no ideas, but that isn't IMO something Bassil has to worry about. Nope, what he has to worry about are too many ideas and not much binding them together. For me, one of the main pitfalls of instant music software is its in-built lack of nuance, and the ease of painfully slamming two obviously conflicting sample loops together. Like all musical endeavours, making music this way takes even more time and effort to get right than sitting down and playing it note for note. In fact I've argued with a great many people who believe it impossible to make decent music with Ejay, but I disagree - it just takes a lot of time and effort. For my money, Starlights of China suffers from a major lack of cohesion; the drumtrack and the overlay - especially in the middle of the track doesn't happen at all. For some reason, the drum sound fades in and out too. Now whether this is intentional (I am familiar with filters, and for that matter dissonant sounds) I have no idea but for me it doesn't work. Even the most experimental of work needs that thread linking it all together and this doesn't have it. Having said all that, this is the ONLY track on his page that has a World genre listing so maybe this is just an experiment?

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