Treva Whateva
Music's Made Of Memories

Treva's debut casts its net far and wide, but does is it suceed in creating new memories or just relive old ones?

By Demented Toddler

"For my first number I'd like to give you my rendition of that old favourite… er… now, what was it? I appear to have forgotten. Oh dear …but the gramophone hadn't forgotten."

Treva Whateva's music is made of memories – old favourites neither he nor his gramophone have forgotten.  We Have The Technology is an uncanny recollection of Mr Oizo's Flat Beat, Havana Ball sounds an awful lot like The Champs' Tequila. Dedicated VIP is a hollow pastiche of mid-nineties jungle, sharing voice samples with The Burial amongst others, and throwing in a healthy helping of Rodney P: "dedicated to the crew smoking spliffs in the darkness". The tune itself is mostly ominous intro and humming bass, with a smattering of reggae guitar and dancehall DJ FX. Crucially though, it lacks what, for many, set the pre-D'n'B of that era apart from its lesser offspring – the inimitable, ingeniously programmed near-chaos of amen drums. Their absence makes the tune's 'drop' more of a 'stop'. Treva's attempt to half fill this void is the musical equivalent of Eminem's babble in the middle of Just Lose It: "I don't have any lines to go right here". Stevie Wonder said that "music at its essence is what gives us memories". Dedicated VIP doesn't manage this, but it reminds you of some great records that did. Go and dig out your old jungle hits compilations. 1 and 2 are the best ones.

Treva's more capable production sometimes sounds like the work of his pal Mr Scruff, for example on Bouncing Bomb, which does pretty much what it says on the tin, perhaps without enough variety.  Driving Reign's tom-toms sound like Spiller's on Groovejet, with a Bangalter disco twang thrown in.  Singalong makes an interesting point about music and memory, a track seemingly composed of those non-verbal noises we make during parts of a song where we can't quite remember the lyrics: "the words are the same all throughout the song, so you can join in…"  Nice idea, but in practice it may well send you insane with its repetitive gibberish. There's a funky-as-hell number in there called Dustbowl. It's the one that says bad motherfucker. That and Dangerous Disco are two of the best tracks on the record, the latter not so much Night On Disco Mountain as "night down disco dark alley". Subtitled Director's Cut on the tracklist, its suspenseful strings could have come straight off the soundtrack of some latter-day film noir.

Based on samples and close homage, this is an interesting exercise, showcasing Treva's impressively broad repertoire and abilities as a producer. What kind of music can he make? Whateva he likes, supposedly, but he isn't breaking new ground. The great British conductor Sir Thomas Beecham once remarked that "magical music never leaves the memory" – but for those who are making music, there needs to be some departure. For new music to be magical we must, at some point, be brave enough to leave our memories.
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