Harnessed the Storm

By Miles Hawthorn

Having reconvened after two mighty fine solo ventures, the highly recommended Other People Place for Warp and Transllusion for Supremat, Drexciya prepare to unleash another torpedo into the water under their more normal guise. A new album from Drexciya is always eagerly anticipated. Having personally been disappointed with 1999's Neptune's Lair I was interested to hear what they would sound like after time apart.

Their albums are always aquatically themed and this is no exception as we begin a journey to the ocean floor. First track Digital Tsunami opens to the sound of thunder and lightning yet this soon makes way for the trademark jacking 808s, which are accompanied by warm sub-bass and tingling keyboard sweeps. Stepping up the pressure with a stabby keyboard line this is typical Drexciya and a solid opener.

The album then takes in more wigged-out, bubbling electro in the form of Soul of the Sea before the laidback sonar bleeps of Song of the Green Whale. Dr Blowfin's is more menacing and atmospheric stuff hinting at imminent attack with its Terminator-styled sounds, while Plankton Organisation is a nice little wired breakbeat jam with traditional FX and overtones. Mission contains snappy breaks and some serious flat-lining bass noises. Aquatic Cataclysm is a doom-laden and edgy track that sends shivers down your spine with an eerie, low riff and a big kick to shake you up. Lake Haze is a bit floaty for my liking but is still possesses a deep sonorous feel that encapsulates the whole album. Final track Birth of a New Life, despite the dodgy title, is a fitting climax to a welcome return to form. Heartfelt melodies and pitch-bending keys give a sublime and majestic end to the album.

Harnessed The Storm sits well from start to finish, seeming more like an album to me than Neptune's Lair's collection of tracks. This sounds less pacey and aggressive, more fully rounded and reliant on the force of the sounds for an intense atmosphere. Needless to say this is hi-tek funk from masters of the genre that should be heard by everyone. Coming soon to a club near you.
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