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DJ Spooky vs Twilight Circus - Riddim Clash

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Artist: DJ Spooky vs Twilight Circus

Album: Riddim Clash

Label: Play

Review date: Jan. 7, 2004

On this collaboration, DJ Spooky's Paul Miller and Twilight Circus's Ryan Moore put their hands together and produce eleven pieces of solid, if generally unsurprising, dub work. Ironically, the introduction and the so-called "Interlude" tracks are the more experimental and, in some ways, most interesting pieces here.

The intro throws down dub rhythms, a slow and solid kick-snare thud, and collaged crowd noises, then voices chanting "We are not afraid," which blend into the aptly-titled "Dub Smasher." Heavy drums, with densely-echoed snare sends, are topped with keyboards and sound effects. "Other Planes of Dub" is a particularly nice one thanks to a steady, tasty bassline and gorgeous violins. The effects lend a cool metallic tang to the drums.

Perhaps the best song here, "Dust Storm on NGC 7023," lays a middle-eastern melody over throbbing bass synth and a fierce, sharp drum track. Very nice, though the song lingers on somewhat longer than it might. The xylophone and drum combo of the title track drives powerfully forward through several changes. The heavy drums and synthesizer moans of "Gamma Burst" are pretty satisfying, and the same can be said for "Dub Cultivator" -- the drums slide forward solidly while the bass pulses steady and deep, and synth squiggles waver and fade overhead.

"Intergalactic Dub," while the title might overpromise, moves ahead on mid-tempo drums and a sparse, spot-on bassline with strings and effects filling out the sonic environment. It's a suitable ending for the album, a worthy effort and good listening. But I can't help thinking that these two artists should be able to take it that one more step out there towards something new.

By Mason Jones

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