Skee Mask - Compro
Dance music at it's best should be on the vanguard of cool. A combination of everything that is hip with a dash of something that you don't even know is cool yet. Does that mean that every bit of dance music is hitting the coolest shit in the world levels every time? Absolutely not, but that is usually the goal. On this new album Skee Mask seeks to do that while paying homage to the 90s dance music that He fell in love with. The German producer plays with breakbeats and some ambient techno to create this really immersive album. You feel surrounded from the moment this album begins totally in line with the places this record is willing to take you. The thing is, it takes forever to actually get anywhere. It's not until the seventh track that you actually get something with some pace. Everything before it is so ambient, so soundscapey that nothing feels all that dancable until "dial 274". The whole time you are left kind of waiting for when this is actually going to engage but once it does, the drum and bass inspired track turns into something truly beautiful. As the song begins it feels like a standard drum and bass track, maybe a little on the lighter side, but still maintaining that aggressive dance posture. As it evolves it becomes this bigger more complex thing taking you to places that the genre never could have imagined at it's genesis. You are taken through new a diverse worlds as the album goes on, always progressing forward, with on the slightest hold of what came in the past.
The experience of listening to this album is a bit otherworldly. Songs like "Flyby Vfr" take you on full out journeys through space an time. Little sounds blink in and out of existence as the worlds fly by. The vibe however doesn't feel particularly lasting. The music sort of comes and goes but doesn't stick with you. Almost like a really fun night that just flows by, the memories blurry but the sentiment still just as fun. The complexity of these arrangements give them a real intensity, but never in an overwhelming sense. From an electronic standpoint it is razor sharp, reaching for the heights of greats like Aphex Twin, but still keeping a dance heart at the center of everything so the album never becomes too experimental. You can sense the experimentation creeping in on tracks like the glitchy "Kozmic Flush", skitering about with reckless abandon. I thought this album was really going to grab me straight from the jump, but Compro takes more to dive in to, it takes a real dedication to enjoy what is going on rather than feel lost by it. This is a really splendid album, but perhaps not one that any one can enjoy.
8.0 out of 10