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Deadly Avenger - We Took Pelham CD / Deep Red LP

Deadly Avenger
Deadly Avenger
Deadly Avenger
Deadly Avenger
Illicit
Tracklist:
1. We Took Pelham:
Windows :: Real
2. Skit I:
Windows :: Real
3. Punisher:
Windows :: Real
4. Skit II:
Windows :: Real
5. The Quest Part I:
Windows :: Real
6. Blade:
Windows :: Real
7. Day One:
Windows :: Real 
8. Lopez:
Windows :: Real
9. The Quest Part II:
Windows :: Real
10. Love Sounds:
Windows :: Real
11. Skit III:
Windows :: Real
12. Black Sun:
Windows :: Real
13. Deep Red:
Windows :: Real
14. Outro:
Windows :: Real
15. Outro/Skate Links:
Windows: Lo :: Mid :: Hi
Real: Lo :: Mid :: Hi

Deadly Avenger are  new group to me, but tread the well worn path first walked by the likes of Cold Cut and other cut and paste DJs like Bomb The Bass. A whole genre grew out of these instrumental DJ tracks and in the form of Big Beat Trip Hop these guys add their own spice to the mix. This beatsmith originally from West Lothian now based in Hinkley in Leicestershire's first outings were for J Saul Kane’s Electron Industries under the name of Sem. As the Deadly Avenger he initially came out on Depth Charge's DC recordings and has been putting out wax on his own Illicit records label for a while now and is just about to drop his debut LP on us. The Deadly Avenger utilises a blend of hip hop, electro, disco breaks and soundtrack science as his staple ingredients and over the last two years, has steadily built the profile of his own Illicit label by working with artists including The Wiseguys, Organic Audio, Jadell and Portishead's Andy Smith. The result of these collaborations was the acclaimed 'Battlecreek EP' series. At the same time he has earned a reputation as a floor filling DJ at clubs and festivals all over the world, with his residency at London's Fabric Live providing the inspiration for a forthcoming mix album on the club's own label. Somehow he has also found the time to record his debut album which is set for release later this year.

The opening track on both the LP and the CD single is We Took Pelham, a melange of sounds and eclectic samples gathered from far and wide sources such as Rocky sounding Trumpets and is in fact an adaptation of Goinig The Distance; and John Carpenter’s score for Assault On Precinct 13 and shows off Damon Baxters arrangement and sound selection skills.

Punisher opens with bongo rolls and sounds promising, but when the instrumentation comes in it is just a bit too much on the distorted guitars and electronica for my tastes. When the bass, big drums and bongos play there is a certain groove to the track, but when the rest comes in there is too much of a wall of sound that batters you. There are a couple of soothing breaks in this bombardment, but they are too short. I guess that is why they call it the Punisher. Curiously the next skit is a totally mellow affair, with a piano, laid back funky drumming and backward effects. It is more of a mini track at over 1'30". The Quest again on the CD single continues the relaxing theme and with its Peruvian pipes, gently rocking groove and deep bass could give you feelings of dancing on a beach in Goa or something equally exotic. The engineering is perfect and with everything sounding loud and clear the music can envelop you. 

Blade features a more dance keyboard riff and electronic synthesised bassline. Not knowing whether this falls into a more cheesy category of music, when the beat kicks in there are Depth Charge like vibes, and the stuttering tone pattern somewhat offsets the Ibiza type piano. There are many elements which I would have brought out much more in this track to make it much harder, and others that either need dropping or moving to the back of the mix. Time for a hard remix I think.

Day One is getting into proper dancefloor shaker territory with its Stardust type repetitive 70's Funk groove and plucked guitar and higher tempo. I was nodding my head as the tone first introduced by Maceo started to play and then the drop leaving the electric bass and skull sounds prepared the scene nicely for the multi layered beat to come back in. On the CD single you get the FSOL Cosmic Jukebox mix which opens more like an Jean Michelle Jarre track, but for a remix faithfully reproduces tha Deadly Avenger style. Lopez opens with static and low sample rate digital distortion artifacts used artistically, then and Orchestral hit and sweeping violins over a very extended one note bassline. The instruments used give the aura similar to that of an old Enya track and this track particularly feels a bit like an intro that is building all the time, but never quite evolves into the track it should be. The by the second half of the track it was becoming really melancolic and by the end I was ready for the following track.

The Quest Part II isn't that associated with the first, and utilises different instrumentation completely including Maracas and Large industrial metallic sounds in the beat as well as breathy ephemeral vocal samples and hand claps. The electonic synthsisers are still there backing this up as with most of the tracks and are used to make large aural experiences with their sweeps and swooshes, but its just too overpowering for me. I need a bit of space in my music too. Love Sounds make use of a real modern RnB Drum box beat which you could see someone crooning out Love Songs over. Instead here we have another varied palette of module and syth riffs and chords.

Skit III is another mini track which reminds me of a Shaft score. Sounding more like real instruments (or choice samples) this just appeals to my ears. For Black Sun Deadly Avenger return to the electronica and the final full track Deep Red kicks up the tempo again for Deadly Avenger to go out with a bang, but this possibly the one track where everything doesn't just hang together. The beat with its loud woodblock snare sound too disparate from the orchestral washes, it is too much of a contrast. The Outro like so many of the skits could potentially be more to my liking an would have improved the LP if more of the tracks were like this, i.e. less wall of sound syths and more spacious, break driven grooves.

The album is well put together and at 14 tracks long including the skits is the length you would have expected an LP to be a few years ago, maybe today's purchasers would think it was a little short, but it is over an hour long. The tracks were well sequenced and thought out, with all the samples and plethora of different sounds used all seemed to work together and fit into their correct places. It is obvious musicians made this release. However it was not what I was expecting and was much more on a down tempo dance vibe rather than an instrumental Hip Hop or even Trip Hop vibe. Not immediately my cup of tea, but I'm sure this is good stuff. 
 
Check Deadly Avenger on the web: www.deadlyavenger.com
Check out Illicit Records: www.illicitrecordings.com
 
Intro Early Doors:
1979-1985
False Dawn:
1985-1990
Underground Years:
1990-1995
The Renaissance:
1995- 2000
The Future:
2000 & Beyond
Artists &
Discographies

 
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