Perez made a name for himself by following in the liquid funk footsteps of producers like Calibre and Marcus Intalex. Having since branched into other styles and sub-genres, he's developed a sound that draws from many sources yet is fully his own. Nonetheless, the tracklist for 1984 reads like a who's who in the new breed of drum & bass and sees Perez sharing the studio with Sabre, Lynx, Zero T and Spectrasoul as well as a number of vocal collaborators.
The title track sets things off, starting with a disembodied vocal sample and atmospherics reminiscent of Burial but quickly turns into a growling drum & bass roller with the sort of electro tinge that Instra:Mental have married so successfully to the jungle template. "I'm Free" is another roller where synthetic bleeps and shrieks contrast nicely with a more organic bass and beat. A bit less memorable and gripping are the instrumental tracks "Fade Away" and "Voices." They're the sort of standard drum & bass fare which would have collapsed the album into a wholly forgettable affair were it not for the switch-ups, variety and breathing space provided by the less traditional tracks.
Along with Lynx and The Truth, Alix Perez gives a melodic and earnest take on dubstep in "No Grudge." House legend Even Peverett croons over "Forsaken," his voice dancing beautifully around the melancholic piano-loop and accompanying beat science from Perez and Spectrasoul. Rappers Foreign Beggars flex their lyrics over "The Cut Deepens," a steppy and hazy number with a gigantic bassline. "Intersections" is the only major misstep: Ursula Rucker's poetry seems a bit contrived over a fairly generic hip-hop beat. Far better is Yungun's surreal rhymespitting over the synthstuttering offbeat vibe of "Calm of Cast."
There's a nice flow to 1984, a ride through valleys and peaks with subtle mood shifts taking turns against more abrupt changes in feel. While there aren't any big hits to be found, the consistency makes up for it: In a subtle and seemingly effortless way, these tunes get under your skin. It might be ten years too late for major label interest, but Alix Perez has nonetheless crafted a very good album in a genre where "album" is usually a synonym for "a random collection of tunes."
Fri / 9 Oct 2009
02. The Cut Deepens feat. Foreign Beggars
03. Fade Away
05. Portraits Of The Unknown (Interlude)
06. Forsaken feat. Peven Everett & SpectraSoul
07. Intersections feat. Ursula Rucker
08. I'm Free
09. Calm Of Cast feat. Yungun
11. Suffer In Silence feat. Zero T
12. State 808
14. No Grudge feat. Truth & Lynx
15. Hemlines feat. Sabre