At the most recent Dancechurch, Defib (aka Andrew Towl) gave me a copy of his “Spectral Overload” CD.
After a proper listen to it, I was moved to write this review. I get plenty of CDs from local talent and most of it is usually pretty bland or just not my tastes and is forever shelved in “the pile.” Defib’s CD was a surprising departure from that trend. I’m going to go ahead and just put this out there now, “Spectral Overload” is easily the best locally produced psytrance I have heard to date.
To quote his site, it’s a
Live/ Dj set featuring live guitar, synth, and sampling. The mix is comprised of the latest tracks by Defib. A concoction of funky beats and driving synth lines meant to give your head a space to journey through while leaving your feet behind to dance.
In short, this is some serious speaker pumping, sweat inducing, dance floor thrashing, full-on trance dance tunage. While my tastes have moved away from full-on, banging psytrance, there’s still a place in my heart for the sound. It’s rarely the music I put on to listen to, but I still pepper it into my trance sets when the time and dancefloor energy level are right.
This CD contains all of the elements you’ve come to expect in full-on psytrance, and it does them well. Trashing guitar riffs mingle with tinkling melodies, dugga dugga basslines, and ripping leads. There are even some proggy touches in the mix. In the end, that may actually be my biggest knock against it. It sounds like lots of stuff I’ve heard before, though it recreates that sound expertly. The energy level is kept pretty high throughout and will work great on any psytrance-minded dancefloor. In a complaint related to my opinion of full-on psy, I wish there was a little more breathing room in the tracks. See Gus Till for the master of track dynamics and contrast. By breaking a track all the way down to it’s most basic elements and then rebuilding, the crescendo highs seem that much higher than if you maintain that rocking intensity for the duration of the track (or whole set for that matter).
Thankfully, there are plenty of hints at an original take on the genre, sprinkled amidst the clichés, to keep this album interesting. I can’t wait to watch/hear Defib continue to develop his sound and really focus more on his sound, not just what is expected of the genre. There is a lot of promise here and if he keeps it up, he has bright future in our local and national scene. It’ll take a bit more originality to stand out in the global quagmire that is psytrance, but I’m sure he has it in him.
Genre complaints aside, Defib brings that touch of intensity that Seattle needs to balance out it’s proggy tendencies. Promoters, please book this man for your events. Your dancefloors will thank you!
Here are a few of my favorites from the album. You can dowload all of this material plus the entire mixed album from his site.