Pound Shop Alex Petridis
Imagi:Nations Part 2: Day
Hypersonicâ€™s The Beginning Of A Story is far and away the best of his tunes Iâ€™ve heard under this moniker. Opening with moody, Clapton-unplugged-like guitars, itâ€™s got epic written all over it. A clean, bouncy groove picks up pace and energy as it glides cleanly to an enormous electro break. At which point, we will see two camps of people emerge â€“ youâ€™ll either like this or youâ€™ll hate it. It depends really, on whether you think that psytranceâ€™s â€˜borrowingâ€™ of sounds from other styles of contemporary dance is an abhorrently anti-hippy, throw-nag-champa-at-it travesty or whether you think itâ€™s just a bit of fun that puts a different slant in a track and makes the post-break section all the more interesting and exciting for bouncy chase-the-sun bopping. A huge guitar solo brings it to a close, and again its like-it-or-hate-it stuff but whatever, you should do it a favour and check it out as one of the most original tunes of the year. Star-Xâ€™s Different is as smooth as youâ€™d expect, though erring more into conventional fullon than Eranâ€™s earlier stuff. Itâ€™s got a sort of dubby, dirty, twisty-yet-somehow-80s synth melody driving it along, with an easy-breezy midsection before it flies off into the cosmos with a pinch more of an 80s feel to it. Personally I think this is the bees knees, and Iâ€™ve tried *very* hard to pick holes in it. Logic Bombâ€™s Drop Target gets the remix treatment, and much like their Marauder on Imagi:Nations Night, youâ€™ve got to love it for the combination of their styles â€“ the smooth production, the suggestion of the eerie, fluffy topends and unquestionable manipulation of energy â€“ which comes into its own in the last minute of this track, some of the best music Iâ€™ve ever heard from these boys. Phonic Request & Terraformersâ€™ Red Planet sounds a million miles away from their contribution to the Night CD: a sublime, unforced psychemelodic romp that drags you right into its heart with smooth melodies and a breezy groove. Thereâ€™s a suggestion of more twisty, cod-churning psychedelia bubbling under the surface, but for this one the boys have settled for pure, unadulterated morning trance which works a charm. Eat Staticâ€™s Perverted Science is a little more like their very early output with a sort of sci-fi sheen to it (alien UFO on the front cover, anyone?). The 4-4 sections plug on nicely, but itâ€™s when it drops into breaks that it really works â€“ all that energy, all those gnarly noises, all that production finesse, all works incredibly well over a breakbeat, and itâ€™s almost as though the 4-4 compromises it all when it takes over again. Man With No Name takes a considerable amount of cake from this reporter, his Critical Mass being one of the standouts here. Itâ€™s a cascade, a seriously killer cascade, that squeezes out evidence of his older sounds, but gets them updated with an angrier, more beefy underside. In other words, you can tall itâ€™s the same dude who wrote Sugar Rush, but since then heâ€™s been on the scotch, listening to JJ Cale, splitting up with many wives and buying a Harley. Four Carry Nutsâ€™ Convergence isnâ€™t anything like I would have expected from them. Intro-free, its straight in with some massive, massive guitars which would normally turn me off if not for three things: one, the guitars are very massive and sound neat; two, theyâ€™re written right into the tune as opposed to sounding like just another riff; and three, the tune itself is different, quirky, and banging. Oh, and did I mention itâ€™s taking the piss? I can see how people would hate this, and I can also see how people would love itâ€¦ but expect a lot of dust to be kicked up if this is played anywhere in Australia :p Mindelightâ€™s La Granja is a funny little fellow, itâ€™s sort of psytrance-blues with (you guessed it) more guitar and a shuffled feel that doesnâ€™t all quite work as well as Cosmosisâ€™ Down At The Crossroads, the nearest musical cousin I can think of. The guitar is clever here, but Iâ€™m not sure I get the joke. Finally Total Eclipseâ€™s Cool Man is far from their best, itâ€™s messy and sounds unfinished but we can let that go â€“ for my money the CD peaked with Manwithnoname anyway. So what have we got then. Some utterly stunning tracks here, and not one that doesnâ€™t impress in terms of one or more of flow, energy, quirk or originality. But the trick is, to treat this and Imagi:Nations Part1: Night as one package. On their own, each stands up as a good compilation (with Night edging into the lead); but slapped together theyâ€™re fun, exciting and original collections of psytrance suggesting that Tip have put back the thought, the bravery, and the envelope-pushing thatâ€™s been so sorely missing the last few years. Reclaim your shiva hoody from the dogâ€™s basket â€“ Tip are cool again.