Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Agent Whiskers - Stage 2: The Path Untaken CD

Hear The Track Here

Where, presumably, stage one was the Abstract Forms of Solace CD (September 2011) a feast of intelligent electronica cum hip hop from a place more noted for oil and gas than either of those two musical forms. Essam Whiskers (aka Agent etc) is a musician from Saudi Arabia who first contacted me last year and followed up one request immediately with another (this CD) you got to be thinking that this is a busy boy. Aaaaah, but does all this activity signify that you, the listener, should be in any way interested. Well playing, producing and mixing something as good as the first CD is what got it a reasonably high rating from me, and I had hope that this new one would be upping the game (even though it is a few months old by now).

Confused? Don't worry, normal state of affairs round here, ask anyone!

Stage 2: The Path Untaken is a seven track EP in the same vein as Abstract Forms of Solace as the first track, Awaken (A Paradise in Ruins), shows. While it IS classy electronica, performed and recorded very well, you will have heard something similar many times. It's only on Contagion (A Dance With Death) (track two) that Agent Whiskers finally dons his dancing pants, although it owes a lot of it's existence to the darker side of the 1980's electropop scene. By the time you've sucked these introductory tracks down you, the scene is set and Agent's description of the album being 'a sprawling electronic experience' would seem highly accurate. Obviously you are going to have to like the genre to really enjoy anything this musician comes out with because instrumentals are pretty much the whole game - and with electronica that can often be a problem.

However both Rescue Me (Deep Sleep) and Retribution (Feeling Alive, Battle Scars and All) (tracks three and four) acquit themselves as well as the preceding tracks and, if this were a western musician, most of us would be going 'oh yeah oh yeah'. Take into account the culture and musical tradition that Essam has grown up with and the music takes on a different lustre. Not one piece of music on this excellent set of instrumentals give away anything geographically but the fact that the musician comes from such a restrictive and often intolerant country (IMHO obviously) speaks volumes for his attention to the genre detail and that - to me - is where Agent Whiskers earns those 00 credentials (and a saucer of milk). As you may have noticed, the project tells a story and Downpour (Finding Love in a Post-Apocalyptic World), The Getaway (Just Drive) and The Final Chapter (The Godless King of No Man's Land Awaits) round out the CD and musically it does indeed work as a whole. So if smart, intelligent electronica is your genre du jour, get some!!

Excellent Electronica. Highly Recommended.

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