It perhaps wasn't intentional, but every PR pic of Milton Jackson about to be whacked around the head—whether it be by a baseball bat, boxer, keyboard or whatever—suggests that Crash is an album that promises an impact or climax you'll never get to witness. It begins promisingly enough: A sweaty and tropical "Ghosts In My Machine" bangs away with success, as does a chirpy "Backwards Disco" and a percussive "Rhythm Track," collectively riding on a throbbing wave of soul-infused house.
But the aforementioned never seem to voyage anywhere other than where they turned up in the first place—a preliminary, beat-matching groove, at best. "Rhythm Track" particularly, is almost crafted into something of depth when serene pads join the bare arrangement but after a momentary breakdown, it's stripped back again and anticipating its close, as if Milton Jackson withdraws, wanting to get to the end more quickly than I do. "Another Fine Mess" however, with its deeply-pitched grooves and progressive melodic textures lending themselves to a kicked-back chillout essence, is the exception that suits Jackson's perpetually plodding deep house style.
For Crash, Jackson took elements from exotica and sci-fi records, noting that it was "basis (hopefully) for a fresher sound." His dedication to the cause is undeniable, and indeed, the likes of "Got to Hold On" consequently sound sample-wise, at least, as futuristic as they do old-school. Essentially though, it seems much of the sought-after soul and feeling gets forgotten in this over-production (the concentration on details, as opposed as to the bigger picture), until the album's close.
Just like those pop albums that bury the single about eight songs in, Crash finds new scope later on and Jackson finally delivers. A euphoric, orchestral string pad twisted around like Play-Doh on the progressive "Orbit 3," posits what Jean Michael Jarre might sound like if he'd been into house music. (The answer: bloody brilliant.) A shape-shifting soulful, vocal blurting "Prototypes" finds the rhythm "Rhythm Track" was searching for and the piano-led melancholic droning ambience of "Outrospection" feels more like a beautifully emotive motion picture soundtrack, rather than the pull of the shutter on a house album, that, despite its last gasp, never finds its groove.
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Tracklist: Milton Jackson - Crash 01. Prelude to a Ghost
02. Ghosts in My Machines
03. Backwards Disco
05. Another Fine Mess
06. Rhythm Track
07. Snap Crackle
08. Got to Hold On
09. Rogue Element (Surprise)
10. Orbit 3
12. Cycles (Album Version)
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