It's the tenth anniversary of this track's last review. Ain't that funny? I can't believe it's been so long since someone's broken the silence on what was one of my favorite NGAP tracks back in the day. What even happened to Z-B? Just vanished eight years ago after saying he hoped to release more tracks… doesn't seem good.
Oh well, I didn't come here to fawn nostalgically – that would be of little practical use! (As if this is much better!) While still an enjoyable listen overall, and full of good ideas, there is a lack of flair and polish that now sticks out to me. I've come to battle with nostalgia by acknowledging that.
The main theme of my criticism here is that different sections of the track aren't communicating as well as they could be. As the progression runs at a quick pace, and several key points of transition come without obvious melodic or ornamental hints ahead of them, it feels like bars are being skipped over. I do enjoy some abrupt shifts, and a lot of amateur music especially can be exciting thanks to this element of unpredictability, but having too many changes occur together right on boundary lines means sacrificing opportunities to tie ideas together cohesively.
The energy curve of this track is pretty much a staircase, with a couple awkward steps early on. At 0:23, the rising pads suggest a buildup to an epic moment, but have only a break loop for support, which immediately falls out from under them at the end of the phrase. A drop-off so soon, from such weak energy, feels premature. Some additional atmospheric elements and time to grow would've served it well.
1:09… weird little spike that comes without warning and trails off like it had nothing to say. My head says some clacky, resonant upper-mid atmospheric stuff could've filled the space it left behind.
The springy accompaniment to the introduction of the vocal sample at 1:21 used to be my favorite part. It *is* fun and interesting, but it's also an odd one-off detour that just takes off after the previous phrase, seeming thematically disjointed – it took me a few attentive listens to even notice the subtle noise sweep doing its best to guide you in. Rolling out some of the lows leading up to it would make the turn less sharp, and working out a way to come back to it naturally would help it feel grounded within the track.
I question the mixing – depends on intent. The breaks lack weight/punch and fall back in the mix, while the reverby organ and pads are more bold and prominent than I would expect. Lighter than your typical PHEEEEGHT DnB track.
Coasting into an abrupt ending comes off as… inelegant. It just kinda happens. Shame it comes so soon when there's so much that would benefit from extending and blending. Would've been a fine time to bring those springy chords back to send listeners off, too.
All in all though, a good track, and honestly, it's some of what I've criticized it for that made it memorable enough for me to return to it today. Cool guitar melody 'n' samples 'n' stuff, but it's the light weight and sharp twists in and out of that detour that set it apart in my mind.
welp, I've been feeling sick and brain-foggy, and now it's time to sleep and my brain has been thoroughly fried. time to force myself to just toss this into the box: