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February 25 , 2021
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Charm - Pathfinder

 ( Psyristor ,  Feb. 2003 )

1. Retrospective 6:38 2. Parallux 5:08 3. Inside Man 7:11 4. Emanations 7:40 5. Prime Factors 7:49 6. State of Flux 7:14 7. Learning Curve 7:36 8. Metabolic 7:11

Well, when I first saw the name Charm, I thought of the old compilation The Japanese Experience a few years back. Charm is a KURO side project, for all of those here who don't know, and I was wondering about the change I've heard in KURO's music since that album, and I was more than curious to check out what this album had in store.

It opens with a storm, Retrospective is a hard grinding progressive track with a lot of dark aggressive elements all over the place, smooth (nearly mathematical) progression. A lot of power going into everything here. Parallux comes up next with a much more experimental and minimal feeling, but still containing a lot of dark and twisted energy flowing all over the place in progression which is both very deep and flawless in expressing its point. Straight from the EP of the same name, Inside Man gives a harsh minimal night drone, using a very subby bassline that isn't really heard but felt. With a mechanical groove, which builds up the entire track, this is one of the best minimal tracks I've ever heard. Raising the level of power, Emanations has a sweeping quality, instantly grabbing the listener and throwing him inside the dark sounds and tribal rhythms. A lot of tension and suspense, these would be the most dominant emotions within this track. Going in a more tribal direction Prime Factors offers a very well built groove, slick percussion and more and more permutations in the elements throughout the track, a lot of spacey elements fill in the landscape occasionally, each time scratching the brain a bit harder. State of Flux takes some house elements and throws them in the mix, but this is more than just a bit far away from that genre. The filtered vocals that appear in the middle of the track are just wonderful, adding to the mechanical atmosphere a lot. The most "full on" track of this album comes to continue with the mechanical grooves, only in a much more aggressive way, feeling like a summary of ideas from the previous tracks. Learning Curve is a wonderfully dark piece of perfect progression and high energy elements, passages that make the listener nearly jump out of his chair, machine-like percussion in a powerful tribal groove, and continuing its development on and on throughout the track to a brilliant explosion of power in the last 2 minutes. Finishing this album is Metabolic, using the familiar scratches and hard grooves but adding some emotion in the atmosphere (for a change), with a full on (!) bassline, this is the perfect way to end this album. Again, flawless progression, scratchy effects, complex tribal grooves and a great peak, this track gives this album an added layer.

Recomendation:  Progression in a very mathematical way in every track. Darkness oozing out of every bit of this music. Tribal percussion, engrossing and well-built grooves. To sum it all up, this is one of my favorite albums. Ever. If you're looking for the "wave your hands in the air" elements, this isn't for you. If you're looking for full on, just ignore this CD. If you want soft music, look the other way. If you want the one of the BEST dark minimal / progressive albums, ever, this one is worth every cent. Favorites: 1, 3(!), 4, 5, 7(!!) - but all of these are just amazing.

Review by : Kaz

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