Title: Unknown Sequence
Release Date: 2014 July 21
Genre: Trip Hop
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: Dusted Wax Kingdom / BandCamp
Ariel Romero is a Buenos Aires born prodigy of modern musical culture. He started listening to music early, and by the time he was 12 years old he was mixing with vinyl. By the age of 16 he was DJ’ing in a local club. Now he;s record with Dusted Velvet Records and Dusted Wax Kingdom netlabel. On this release he takes us on a journey into the mysterious darkside of the sequence.
Mysterious Darkside of the Sequence
The opening track is a setup: it introduces the Darkside Theme beautifully. It’s one of the few times I’ve listened to an opening track thinking it would be some throw-off piece to get the release rolling, only to realize that it is really a statement. A slow bass line, with a vocal that sets us up for the intrigue that is the Darkside. The beats come in and really set up the frame-work for weaving piano, scratching, and sax. It’s a down-tempo chill that really got me in the mood.
But it’s what comes next that really excited me about this release. Instead of just working with standard blues or jazz recordings, Romero chooses an excerpt from Massenet’s opera ‘Le Cid’ as the basis for what should become a mix-masters masterpiece. He weaves together vocals by a soprano, jazz saxophone, orchestra, and his beats to completely produce a down tempo groove that Massenet probably wouldn’t have thought was possible. It’s an amazing transformation that is at the level of DJ’s like Square Pusher and DJ Shadow.
And this is a recording that showcases a phenomenal range of skill. Even pieces that are minimal in terms of arrangement come across as crisp and new. A perfect example of this is ‘Blue Sunday’ with Vibes, Beats and muted trumpet parts. It’s a gorgeous tune, beautifully mixed.
And it doesn’t stop there. Every track on this release is really well crafted, and plays extremely smooth. Even tracks that I might have had a problem with being too familiar, like ‘While Gently Weeps’, which uses a cover recording of The Beatles While My Guitar Gently Weeps as it’s base are exceptionally well done. I might recognize the base recording, but this is definitely a Darkside interpretation, full of the mystery of the night.
There are some down tempo / trip hop recordings that sound fairly stale to me. I have one such recording to talk about later in the week (or possibly next week). There have been enough of them lately, that I have wondered if the state of down tempo was getting stagnant. But then there is a release of this caliber and my faith in the art form is rejuvenated.
While this recording is extremely strong overall, there are a few standout tracks. ‘Pleurez Mes Yeux’, ‘While Gently Weeps’, ‘Unknown Sequence’ and ‘Paradise Lost’ are knock-outs. But don’t just focus on those tracks, the whole release is great. It’s definitely worth listening to over and over. Come on, take a journey through the mysterious darkside of the sequence.