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  • Filed under: Review
  • 09/16/2013

Deep'a & Biri Emotions, Visions, Changes

There appears to be no shortage of deep, chunky tech-house in Israel these days. The growing scene has found fertile soil in Tel Aviv, the home base for artists like Guy Gerber, Gel Abril, and Shlomi Aber, whose Be As One imprint has become a hub for Israeli producers. However, few have managed to cultivate a following outside the country. Yaron Amor and Itai Biri, the beatmakers behind Deep'a & Biri, have garnered one of the biggest profiles in the field thanks to ample support from DJ stalwarts like Derrick May, who included one of their tracks on his We Love Detroit compilation earlier this year and chose another for an upcoming Transmat collection. The duo's output of dubbed-out techno EPs and singles also piqued the interest of DJ Hell, who is releasing the pair's debut full-length via his International DeeJay Gigolo label. Although it's their longest release to date, the two producers didn't take the opportunity to reach for new heights or explore fresh sonic territory; Emotions, Visions, Changes finds Deep'a & Biri entrenched in their comfort zone.

All 10 tracks on the LP are composed of the same elements—dramatic dub chords, taut kick drums, full-bellied basslines, and clicking percussion—which leaves little room for differentiation. On "It's Make Sense," one of the more energetic cuts, moody chord stabs whip around a bone-deep beat, but it's similar to "Fractal," another relatively hard-hitting tune. The flickering chords on "Fractal" are lighter and overlaid with long, sweeping strings, but both tracks roll out fluttering keys and crisp drums to achieve dense, psychedelic atmospheres. They also resemble some of the softer songs on the album, like "Thetawaves" and "Last Chance Chasers." Both of those are moodier, quieter tracks that focus more on undulating basslines and gliding extended pads, but their crunchy beats and velvety chords don't break out of the mold of throbbing dub techno. Deep'a & Biri have a firm grasp on their chosen style—all the tracks are effective, hypnotic, and pretty—but it seems as if they've caged themselves inside one particular sound.

The opening track, "Fade to Nothing," and album closer "Tears" stand out the most from the pack. "Fade to Nothing" bucks the mold by employing a barely there broken beat that refuses to coalesce into a four-on-the-floor rhythm. The song's dub chords similarly take shape as a swirling ambient fog instead of flickering stabs. "Tears" uses snappy percussion, lustrous chords, and voluptuous sub bass, but it taps into a lighter energy and a more jacking momentum than its peers; the elastic kick drum bounces between crisp claps while a pretty melody oscillates blithely overhead. As these tunes demonstrate, Deep'a & Biri are certainly capable of composing solid and seductive tracks, but the rest of Emotions, Visions, Changes doesn't do justice to their talent. Instead of experimenting or taking risks that could have made their work truly compelling, the pair has delivered something that is simply safe and effective.

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