HigterFrequency DISK REVIEW




Label : Global Underground / Cat No. : GUSA001CD
Format : Mix CD / Released : 21st June, 2004
Stlye : Progressive

Sasha, his name is now legendary in dance music. Millions follow everything he does, people adore him, for many his music is gospel. So this, his first compilation album since 1998's Global Underground Ibiza, (a release hailed by many as the best in the series), has been eagerly awaited by fans and record labels bosses alike.

And so he gives us Involver, an album that brings together a collection of remixes done by Sasha especially for this album perfectly joined together so smoothly it almost reminds me of his and Digweeds first Northern Exposure album. A new concept conceived by Sasha, it blurs previous definitions/expectations of compilation releases creating a Hybrid that future releases will surely try to emulate.

As Sasha himself says, "Vinyl can only tell part of the story. I'm embracing technology to attain a new interpretation of mixing. Involver is my experiment. It's all great music, which I'm presenting back out to the world in my own way, which is exactly what DJs always talk about doing. They don't have the tools to do that when they are in a club. The fact that I got all the separate parts to the mixes and put it all back together to create my own sound is the ultimate form of DJ'ing."

A true licensing achievement if nothing else, to be given the freedom to rip up tracks of this quality signifies the enormous respect Sasha has as an artist throughout the industry with the album featuring tracks from UNKLE, Felix Da Housecat, Grand National, Spooky and Ulrich Schnauss

So it's a nice idea, but most importantly, what does it actually sound like? It's an epic album, as you would expect nothing less from Sasha, but unlike other Global Underground releases it moves away from the more dance floor orientated mixes that have characterized the label with all tracks on Involver made with a break beat.

Perfectly produced this album really sees Sasha showing a different side to his talents, reminding for those of us who've forgotten with all the hype surrounding him, just why the legend has grown behind the name. Each track is perfectly arranged to fit into the 10 tune soundtrack, starting slowly with a remix of Grand National's 'Talk Amongst Yourselves' the album starts with a slow tribal drum, an atmospheric background building up anticipation, a slow guitar builds rhythms before the vocal comes in with a psychedelic loop, this is no armchair listening but at the same time not what you'd hear in a club, well not in the main room anyway.

More vocals on the next track, in fact interestingly every track on the album apart from 1 has some form of vocals hinting even more about the direction of this album away from the dance floor. Breath taking remixes of Shpongle's 'Dorset Perception and 'These Days' by Petter flow seamlessly into each other perfectly increasing the breadth and momentum of the album before pouring us into the remake of UNKLE's 'What are you to me'.

The album continues to build, constantly building the albums depth before dropping another UNKLE track 'In a State. A re-remix of Sasha's own production that appeared on James Lavelle's GU Barcelona compilation, this time its reworked perfectly to slot into this stage of Involver, leading into what I'm convinced is the best track on the album. Sasha's interpretation of 'Burma' by Lostep, the production name for Australian's Phil K and Luke Chable, is a mind popping breakbeat epic that will bring back mind wandering memories from the dance floors, your brain desperately trying to work out the music's perfectly offbeat structures.

But just when things start getting interesting comes probably the weakest track on the album, Felix Da Housecats 'Watching Cars Go By' Not that it's a particularly bad track, in fact in a different situation I'd probably like it but it just doesn't complete the epic build of the album, losing the it's whole momentum. More surprising than anything, it's confused me why Sasha included this track on this album. Ulrich Schnauss's 'On My Own', the last track on the album, although a classic piece of atmospheric breakbeat, doesn't manage to bring it back together, the album finishes leaving the listener somewhat disorientated.

Involver is a brave attempt to create an album that is truly unique and in many respects it succeeds. Most of the tracks are classic remakes of the originals that will no doubt be played for along time to come but unfortunately this isn't a seminal, career-changing album. Its good, at times some of the production is genius and probably marks the logical progression that many future albums will follow, but, its no going to be played repeatedly for years to come like the classic dance music albums such as Leftfield's 'Leftism' are. I'm sure that for Sasha fans and anyone with even a passing interest in breakbeat It'll nestle comfortably in your CD collection near the top of the pile for at least the rest of this year. (m.cheetham)

  • Track-listing
  • 01. Grandnational - Talk Amongst Yourselves
  • 02. Spooky - Belong (Ambient)
  • 03. Shpongle - Dorset Perception
  • 04. Petter - These Days
  • 05. Unkle - What Are You To Me
  • 06. Youngsters - Smile
  • 07. Junkie Xl - Surreal
  • 08. Spooky - Belong
  • 09. Unkle - In A State
  • 10. Lostep - Burma
  • 11. Felix Da Housecat - Watching The Cars Go By
  • 12. Ulrich Schnauss - On My Own