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September 25 , 2020
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Xerox and Illumination - XI

 ( HOMmega ,  Sep. 2005 )

1. Night Shift RMX - 140 BPM 2. Ghost In The Machine - 142 BPM 3. Battleship - 145 BPM 4. Paranoia - 142 BPM 5. Soul Control - 140 BPM 6. Funkenstein - 145 BPM 7. Assimilation Of Reality - 145 BPM 8. Oranda (Final Mix) - 145 BPM 9. Bottom Line - 135 BPM 10. 7 Days (Etnica Remix) - 143 BPM

A 2nd Xerox and Illumination album is major news in my book. The previous one was something I enjoyed for quite some time and had a good “shelf life”. I remember at some point last year when the change in XI’s music came about… it was somewhere after the collaboration with Sandman with the release of “Resolution”, a new darker more serious tone came from the two. The new style was established when “Paranoia” hit the shelves, this track was a hint of things to come.
We begin with “Night Shift Rmx” airy pads welcome a massive drumbeat that comes charging with the bass of the track as the intro. Clean, crisp sounds that break and away we go. A solid serious beat, progressive buildup and night sounds. The track develops pretty quickly with the amount of events it carries, distorted leads and mysterious samples tell the tale here. The break has the sounds of the memory flashes from the movie “Kill Bill”, a great track to begin DJ sets with. Up next is “Ghost in the Machine”, continuing the line and feel of the previous track. A track that can fit in various times of the party because of its elements (tested and approved), I really enjoy the distorted guitars that come in a very spacey manner. The samples are from “I, Robot” and there is a good break beat part before the final climax. (T3) “Battleship” is by far the most massive tune of the album… jumping up to 145 BPM; this track is a sure ripper. The intro is looming and foreshadows what to come, a dark serious techno’ish track with great sample work and hard sounds. We go on with “Paranoia” and although I’ve heard and played this track for quite some time, it sounds better on this album then in its previous release. For me this is the track that gave the tone for the album as stated before, great ideas and good story in it, one of the best tracks this year. (T5) “Soul Control” doesn’t take any time and gets into the “meat” of the tale. Slowing down to 140 BPM, the track is super loaded with leads and percussion work that make it feel massive, one of my favorite tracks. An interesting turn of events is all I can say about “Funkenstein”… this is a “big beat” track in the middle of the voyage. The way it mixes in from the previous and the way it mixes out is very good. The music itself is interesting and moving… I wonder if this type of music is anything that the two wish to develop, because it’s that good. Next is “Assimilation of Reality” (T7). This track has a very groovy base for a 145BPM piece. The choir work and pads are quite good too, not a dance floor, but still a very well made different side of XI. I think one of the hits of this album will be “Ornada Rmx”, first because of its original producer, Astrix and also because they did a fine job with it. I liked this track more at first, I find some things about it a bit cheesy, but still it works on the floor like magic. The outro track here is “Bottom Line” (T9), at 135 BPM, we slow things down. A big kick, a fat base and electro’ish ideas in it, very interesting work done here. As a bonus track, “7 Days” was places on the album. I personally don’t think this track has anything to do with this album, as a bonus or not. I actually didn’t like Etnica’s remix work at all and find myself ending my journey with track 9.

Recomendation:  In conclusion, this is one of my highlights of 2005, coming in late yet strong. The music is serious, dark, dirty and driving. The feel is techno’ish and is quite new compared to other material out today. There is a lot of attention to details and an organic feel to the album; the tracks connect to each other in ideas and theme. The various speeds of the album is also something to take note, its not all 145 BPM like many of the full-on albums today, XI were not afraid to express their more artistic side rather then supply 10 dance floor bombs. I came in with big expectations and was not disappointed. I hope this is a dawn of a new era from the duo, something i like to call "bad-ass trance". the mastering by Domestic is another highlight, great work!
Fav’s: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9

Review by : Surrender.

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