Album Review: Sasha / ‘Involv3r’ (Ministry of Sound)



Nearly ten years since the first Involver compilation and five since volume two, Sasha’s Balearic teaching is still resonant and relevant. Building, taking his time, showing clubbers where to go and what to do when the sun begins its descent, he of a golden age of superstar DJs works up a deep tech house session with as much relish for loosening up and keeping going.

Effortlessly fluent, personally guiding the sun down himself like an airport marshal, Sasha’s set hums sagely while a wiry girly or candle flickering vocal usually wraps itself around the settings (Ultraísta’s “Smalltalk,” Sasha’s own “Shoot You Down”), while ThermalBear’s “Turn the Tide” plays patron for deep and stylish grooves with ripples of expectancy and vim. Remixing The xx, Benjamin Damage & Doc Daneeka, Ananda Project James Zabiela and more to fit the cause would lead to whispers on the merits of re-tuning all on his terms, were the mix not so accessible in its EDM shushing.

Propped up by a more travel-sized ambient mix, Sasha distils and cleanses the essence of disc one’s contributors. On the surface it just seems to be in thought with itself or has simply lessened the pulse of the source on a two-for-one basis, but is such that the pair become perfect partners as separate entities. Mind soul and body all taken care of, which has always been Sasha’s game.

File under: John Digweed, Nick Warren, Charlie May

Album Review: Benjamin Damage / ‘Heliosphere’ (50Weapons)



While hesitating to use the word focused, Heliosphere is techno that seems more settled, even at its most aggressive, than when Damage gets together with partner Doc Daneeka. A uniter of calms and harbinger of storms, his dream casting banishes the velocity of when he’s at his hardest, taking a higher plain tenure that truly makes him the master of his own destiny. Benjamin O’Shea, a producer giving you bang for your buck and who becomes a locksmith sent to pick at the gates of 4×4 fury, packs lots in for a product that on the level is a relatively short and uncomplicated experience.

“010X” is a clipped shuffle that’s motorized with funky edges or vice versa, a dual arrangement that permeates the album the same as where deep can also mean headstrong. “End Days” is near enough post-dubstep, a cautious threat as much as it is a nicely nudged surprise to the left and with a valuable role to play in the album’s drifting through space – “Light Year” is techno at daybreak right the way through to nightfall – and subsequent plummeting out of orbit. And boy will you feel the Gs: there’s the Detroit head-clamp of “Delirium Tremens,” “Extrusion” tip-toeing through a Twilight Zone with lead boots on, “Spirals” cartwheeling down a black hole, and “Swarm” a slave to the metronome. On form, on target, and another 50Weapons fast start to the year.

File under: Sigha, Fear Ratio, Kevin McPhee