Sunday, December 24, 2006

Bassil Taleb - The Acceleration Of Night Legends

Hear The Track Here

Bassil Taleb is a Syrian electronica artist who I first encountered last month when I reviewed his Starlights Of China which - surprisingly enough - was Chinese in any way. A title is only a title though eh? Starlights of China though had lots of ideas, probably too many as I pointed out in the review. The Acceleration Of Night Legends, on the other hand, is (I quote) 'inspired by stories, events and the traditions of my own city Damascus and it's good people'. As you know I am a confirmed lover of Middle Eastern music but - as I discovered by my last experience - a title is just a title. Moreover, Bassil is obviously working with some kind of loop system which can work, but only with extensive tweaking and hopefully not with over-familiar samples. Been there, done that and I've still got the earache.

Eh? Pardon?

You know me. I'm a firm but fair judge, and when something is wrong with a track I am likely to point out what it is, and hopefully how to deal with it. I absolutely hate to diss someone's hard work but sometimes it's unavoidable, as is the case here. My problem (or is it dilemma?) is that The Acceleration Of Night Legends has so many things wrong with it that I am at a loss as to where to start. Bassil, I hope you understand why I feel I have to write this and I hope you will take what I have to say with an open mind. The prime requisite for dance music is a consistent beat and there is something decidedly dodgy about the 4/4 overdriven-to-hell-and-back kick happening in this track. Ally that to a shifting arrangement which often runs contrary to the rhythm and/or melody(?) and things get decidedly out of kilter.

In short, it plain doesn't work.

I can certainly see the attraction of some of the samples Bassil has used here but when something doesn't gel properly it's just an interesting sound. There are disparities too on sound levels, the prime culprit being the kick of course, but other things (some of the odd noises for example and a really irritating high screech) kick up the same fuss. None of which helps the track to really get started in any meaningful manner. One of the great joys of music software that starts either Magix or Ejay is that you can make quite professional sounds remarkably quickly. However, like all music, unless you follow the musical rules laid down by millions of musicians, it all comes out sounding like a mess. Both of the programs I mentioned actually take the time to sort their samples into musical root order making easier to pick a bit that goes with another bit. Of course it's fun to mix bits together just to see what it sounds like, but its another matter when you release that to a wider audience. They expect more. Now maybe I'm judging Bassil's work too harshly or the two tracks I've heard so far are older tracks, but this is not the way to do it.

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