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  • Filed under: Review
  • 04/29/2013

Mr. Beatnick Savannah

If London's Mr. Beatnick began his career wandering between styles, his interests have surely coalesced with his work for Semtek's Don't Be Afraid imprint. He has dubbed his trio of releases for the label Synthetes, and Savannah represents its final chapter. Although neither as anthemic as Sun Goddess nor as tailored as the original Synthetes, Savannah is a fine conclusion to a series that has, more than anything, established Mr. Beatnick as an artist with a wealth of ideas.

The punchy, sub-laden title track exemplifies this, layering a series of small movements—one with perky stabs, another with bleary pads—on top of a pointed, acidic bassline and rattling, restless drums. It's either messy or psychedelic, depending on one's attention span. "Symbiosis" uses similarly rigid bass sounds, but it's loungier. The track begins like a floaty, old-school Larry Heard production, but the entrance of sepia-toned, old-Hollywood strings lend it nostalgia for an earlier era entirely. Next, "Parallax Scroll" picks up the pace, its deep house essentially paying tribute to the exuberant early '90s as classic rave stabs, vocal samples, and breaks dip in and out of a submerged groove. "Blue Dream," meanwhile, offers a subdued backdrop to a booming electro gallop. It's far more languid than most tracks with this sort of rhythm pattern, offering watery pads and miniature melodies where one might typically find austere robotics. The tracks here sit well in the Synthetes trilogy, blending a whirlwind of genres and tonalities into generally affable house templates. That said, these concoctions aren't delivered as concisely here as they were on Mr. Beatnick's past records for the label, and at times suffer from being overstuffed.

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