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Avalon - Distant Futures

 ( Nano ,  Mar. 2010 )

1. Play it Bahia 6:53 2. Into the New World (vs. Dickster) 6:38 3. Teleporter 7:14 4. Destiny Awaits (vs. Cosmosis) (Avalon Rmx) 7:03 5. Funky Voodoo (vs. G-Nome) 6:54 6. Out There 8:18 7. Another Planet (vs. Tristan) 7:11 8. Swamp Funk 7:10 9. Distant Futures 7:01 10. Opus Pokus 6:42

Avalon is Leon Kane, already well known in psytrance circles as one half of Reality Grid along with EVP. He is now working solo as Avalon and signed with Nano records, and has been slowly becoming a staple name with numerous releases under his belt. Distant Futures is his debut album, and without any further delay let's get to the good stuff.

The album starts off with Play it Bahia (T1), a well placed groover of a track that gets things going at just the right pace. The only way to describe this track is 'just right'. It turns and twists at just the right moments and is a well written tune which doesn't overwhelm the listener, leaving lots of room to breath. The portion around 5.00 is nice, with a subtle explosion of memories- a very nice mix of old school feel coupled with clean production and did I happen to mention the cool melodies? What I liked most about this one is an aspect that runs throughout the whole album- some tight tight percussions, basslines with attitude and groove. Next we have Dickster joining in with Into the New World (T2). The percussions are heavy but lack the dynamic feel of the last track, it actually reminds me a lot of M-Theory. When the track really starts around 1.37, you know that this is going to be a real pusher for the dancefloor. The whole track is full of energy with space age sounds opening the lines of communication with the new world. Scotty, beam me up! With this track the album really starts getting busy. Bring. It. On. Teleporter, which was already released on Avalon's EP Avalanche is a scorcher made for 1 purpose and 1 purpose only- to help start a merry stomp no matter what the conditions. One of my favourites by far, the bassline is balls out mean and the general attitude is one of serious business. A great tune with wonderful melodies towards the end especially the break. Next we have a remix of a collaboration with master Cosmosis which has a more minimal and hypnotic feel to it. There are a lot of old school FX chirping in and about, presumably Cosmosis's influence. On the whole, the old school feel is definitely present and playing this one in the middle of the night might be a cool experience for many, but this track did not move me as much. Next up we have another collaboration with G-Nome. Funky Voodoo (T5) is a slow groover- a pure pleasure to hear with lots of spacey sounds, these guys definitely know what they are doing with their 'voodoo magic'. I love the tecnoid part in the middle with that phat phat beat. I heard a lot of this kind of stuff in the last Freakulizer album too, Frequencies of Sound. Overall, great tune- the samples of the Jamaican dude make this track a lot of fun and the melodies are plain ear candy. Next is Out There that tarts off with tight percussion and hints of melody peaking through the beats. A little way in and we are off to a real bumper of a tune. The leads have that wonderful spacey feeling going for them, consistent with the rest of the album. This one talks its way through with such amazing ease, with a lovely arrangement of synthetic leads and a hint of vocals hiding about. The bit around 3.45 is very mystic, and the whole track resonates with a distinct old school feel. On the whole though, this track lacks a bit of variety and only flexes it muscles towards the last 3 minutes. An alright tune here. Next we have another collaboration, this time Tristan joins the mix with Another Planet (T7). Expectations were high going into this one and I for one am quite satisfied with the output. It starts with some cool effects, especially the tweaking on the voice samples- and bam! This is possibly the most dynamic bassline on the album. More spacey sounds and a wonderful evolution which lets each piece ease its way to the foreground. The melodies that are unleashed at 4.00 are all about the power, and the arrangements that follow add a definite crunch factor to the track. The build up around is awesome and the track just comes bouncing back in all its glory, with leads literally screaming out. A definite crowd pleaser- very tight tune. Swamp Funk (T8) is a solo effort again. The pads are kind of creepy at the beginning but with a name like that you know things won't stay quiet. This one has a very serious tone to it, much like Teleporter. It wastes no time in setting up the plan of action, and moves from strength to strength. The kick off at 2.40 does a great job at building up the power before unleashing this monster. I feel this tune has a more hypnotic feel to it, and I am certain that if dropped in the wee hours of the morning, would cause quite the stir, especially towards the end as the layers of synthetic spacey sounds are more prominent. Another nice tune. Next we have the title track and as expected it has a more epic feel to it, with shamanic samples. The bassline is another fun filled arrangement, and puts me in the mind of old school full on music- back from the days when full on music was ruled by the likes of Alien Project, Sesto Sento and GMS. The story evolves slowly with the leads pushing and prodding at the listener, squelches and squeels topped with warm mystic pads. If this is what the future is all about, then bring it on! The climax towards the 5th minute is pure energy and is just a pleasure to groove to. A rock solid title track which should keep many a dancefloor grooving happily. Now we are down to the last track Opus Pokus, a no holds barred scorcher. Right from the get go you know that this is not going to be a relaxed goodbye, but rather a stark reminder as to why this album is so damn awesome. The percussion is a jumpy little critter that bumps and jumps enough to keep listeners interested. The arrangement of leads is interesting with synthetic sounds placed in the middle of well placed squeels and the occasional bleep. The story being told is awesome and different from the other tunes on the album. It's kind of silly and yet determined to woo you. The tune only gets busier and more hectic towards the end, without really overwhelming the listener. Not a bad tune, definitely an aggressive way to end the album running at 147 BPM- the fastest track of the album.

Recomendation:  To conclude, this is an album meant for those who enjoy intelligent full on music from the likes of labels such as Nano, Alchemy, Vagalume, and Antu records. Avalon does a great job with the percussions, and presents groovy beats with a mixture of old school and new school sounds. On the whole, maybe the album could have had more variety, but with its danceability factor- I would put this album right on top. This should be a must have for any DJ of the morning hours, and will certainly have a spot reserved in my CD player for sometime to come. The artwork is really awesome, very intricate and detailed. It goes well with the theme of the album, and is really quite breathtaking.

Favorite tracks:1-3, 5, 7-9.

Review by : Squirm

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