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March 25 , 2019
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Papa Legba - Dead Air

 ( Celestial Dragon ,  May. 2009 )


1. Night Surf (Ishq remix) 8:43. 2. Digital Ice Pipe 6:01 3. I Want to Believe 6:20 4. Recovering 6:44 5. Greek Opium 6:52 6. Arranged Memories 5:42 7. Abandoned Window 6:35 8. Barely Holding On 7:13 9. Namek Coastline (extinct planet mix) 6:50

Papa Legba aka Peter Pan aka Peter Zuniga is out with his debut album on Celestial Dragon Records. This was an album I was anticipating ever since hearing Papa Legba's track, Night Surf, on the compilation Intermittent Memories released in 2007. It has been quite a long wait but in my opinion that is usually a good sign. It usually indicates that the artist has spent a long time getting it just right to his own standards and design and hasn't rushed it to meet a labels timing demands.
Papa Legba did not disappoint me with this release. Dead Air is an album of two halves. The first is full of very relaxed ambient soundscapes and it dangerously starts of with an Ishq remix of Night Surf. I thought this was a risky idea because if he started with music as good as Ishq then he might struggle to follow it with his own music. This fear of mine proved unfounded though, as Papa's own music flowed nicely after it, just as good if not better. The second half of the album is more upbeat in a kind of dark IDMish style. For me, the second half of the album is not as good as the first and there are a few moments where Pete's taste clashes with my own. Namely in the latter half of the album with the Banjo melody in the beginning of Arranged Memories (T6) and the penultimate track Barely Holding On (T8) at times sounding like it is describing a gun battle down at the OK Corral. These blips aside though this is a very good album.

Throughout most of the album I get the feeling of being on a misty ocean in a small craft, in the beginning sirens sing to me but I can never see where their song comes from as progressively the fog becomes thicker and thicker. The music is quite mournful with themes of loneliness and temptation abound. When the music gets more upbeat I feel like I have come through the fog and landed on an island where the natives are performing a tribal ritual. Unfortunately I have to cross through some redneck yokelís yard to get to it.

The best tracks as I said are at the beginning. I really like Ishqís remix to Night Surf. It is more melodic than the original with more of an Ishq sound to it. There is more emphasis on the magical atmosphere created than on the waves and birdsong in the original. Digital Ice Pipe (T2) and I Want to Believe (T3) both have a cold horror feel to them with the former building up the atmosphere and the latter raising the urgency creating in my head a narrative of floating through the mist and then being chased by some unknown horrors. The rest of the ambient tracks have a similar feel and some of the IDMish tracks as well, so all in all it is a good album with a few blips which I should have expected as Pete Panís taste has always been that way for me mostly great with a few things I donít like.

Recomendation:  If you are expecting this to sound like the front cover looks and the title indicates then you will not be disappointed. The music is cold and mournful, moving from dead ambient soundscapes to harsh unforgiving IDM beats. For me the first half of the album is better but the second half is good in parts. Itís a good album with a few weak moments.

Favorite tracks:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7

Review by : Abasio

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