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Sensational & Spectre - Acid & Bass

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Artist: Sensational & Spectre

Album: Acid & Bass

Label: Wordsound

Review date: Apr. 29, 2010

After many years in the game, Spectre remains a doggedly underground presence, pushing his Wordsound label and continuing to churn out the most blunted of beats. For a time, it seemed as though he might break into the mainstream as part of the "illbient" wave, but even frontrunner DJ Spooky didnít survive that short-lived scene. To his great credit, Spectre seems to have always stuck to his guns and made things his way -- his aesthetic has remained almost stubbornly consistent.

Thus, with wordsmith Sensational providing the lyrical angle, Acid & Bass offers 45 minutes of downtempo, deep beats and synths, only occasionally accelerating to a pulse-quickening tempo. Heavy bass thumps, eerie synths, clockwork rhythms, and muted horns mingle with periodic sound effects and snippets of film dialog. The mostly-instrumental "Frantic" grabs attention with a sample of Zepís "Immigrant Song" intro, while "Rip Like This" benefits from brief funky guitar stabs. Throughout it all, youíll want the subs turned on to get the full benefit of the bass.

The sounds loop and jump under a steady, even flow from Sensational, but thatís where things get problematic. His voice is soothing, even when heís swaggering, which is most of the time. "Is your focus blown by the blunts?" and "Kicks the snares / I make my music with air / Make the air ring / when I be styling" is about as deep as things get lyrically. Sensationalís flow is smooth, but eventually you have to sort of tune out the words because theyíre all about him, over and over.

Ultimately weíre left with a booming bass record suitable for a dimly-lit party or a slow-moving car ride, which perhaps is just fine, but thereís no doubt it could have been more. Maybe next time.

By Mason Jones

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