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Addison Groove - Transistor Rhythm

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Artist: Addison Groove

Album: Transistor Rhythm

Label: 50 Weapons

Review date: Apr. 3, 2012

Here’s a GChat conversation I had with a friend soon after listening to Addison Groove’s Transistor Rhythm for the first time:

    Brad’s Friend: what do you thing [sic] about the addison groove album?

    me: i just got it in the mail for dusted a few days ago
    on first listen, i’m not that into it

    Brad’s Friend: yeah
    i wasn’t either
    it’s not nearly as good as his other stuff
    which is weird

    me: nothing really stands up to any of his singles
    yeah exactly
    it’s just kind of okay [sic]

Based on message board grumblings, I imagine that many Addison Groove fans have had similar conversations over the past month. Tony Williams, a.k.a. Addison Groove, a.k.a. Headhunter, has been justly acclaimed for being one of the first to bring juke into the U.K. bass scene, and his four AG singles are, above all, immediately satisfying. It really doesn’t take much work to “get” tracks like “Footcrab” and “This Is It.” In comparison, with the exception of the Spank Rock-led “Bad Things” and “Beeps,” the tracks on Transistor Rhythm are difficult to distinguish. Slightly slower tempos are explored, ostentatious vocal samples are kept to a relative minimum, and, perhaps most importantly, this sound and style have become familiar.

I was all set to take a mildly positive, “good but disappointing” stance on Transistor Rhythm. However, while listening to one of Bok Bok’s fill-ins on Rinse last week, I was really enjoying what I thought was some unreleased exclusive when he ID’d the track as — you guessed it — an Addison Groove track from Transistor Rhythm.

I’m glad to say that my knee-jerk, first listen opinion has changed, but to say that Williams’s latest LP “rewards close attention” or “reveals itself after multiple listens” is to miss the point. These tracks are all about being in the moment, in the mix, feeding off of the energy of the DJ and surrounding cuts. While it’s not as purely destructive as the earlier singles (again, the massive “Bad Things” excepted), I’m hard-pressed to think of a single cut off the album that would fail to positively augment any DJ set. As before, Williams tastefully incorporates classic 808 sounds into his hyper-clear, modern U.K. aesthetic. Except for the absolutely awful track titles (look them up), there isn’t much to complain about here.

If you really wanted to complain, you could say that Williams isn’t “pushing things forward” or crafting anything “next-level” here. Moreover, as an album, you could also say that Transistor Rhythm is a bit aimless. Listening to it in one go, the tracks do blend together, and they all maintain the same simmering, contained energy. Each track likely sounds better out of context than as part of the album, which, to put it mildly, probably wasn’t the goal. Transistor Rhythm clearly isn’t the full-force, wall-to-wall banger album that many were hoping for, but it does show that Addison Groove can successfully and consistently operate in a more relaxed mode. “Wall-to-wall slightly subdued tracks that will sound great in the mix” isn’t as ringing an endorsement as I’d like to give, but, seriously, don’t listen to the message boards: Transistor Rhythm is top-notch.

By Brad LaBonte

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