Compilation Review: ‘Ambivalent presents ___ ground’ (M_nus)


While Ambivalent (a.k.a. Kevin McHugh) rounds up the cavalry, the underscore is for listeners to fill in for themselves. As there isn’t much making eyes at the overground on this 21-track deep house and techno rummage, it’s underground and background going toe-to-toe. You’re hoping underground wins out as there’s nothing worse than club beats fading into a whisper — probably the worst trait of anything deep, and there are a few here that groove a little too close to inconsequence.

The compilation is far more straightforward than the suggestion of a concept at work. Alexx Wolfe gets proceedings busy, and Saso Recyd is the first to beef up and plug the underground hole with “296 Bolts” before twisting into the discoed “Lidudu.” Michael L Penman’s “Open Day” offers a hardy acid roller and represents the collection’s underground status not mining itself into a blackout – everything is pretty supple regardless of how closely it plays by the rules or slides past the microscope, the control maintained on techno-tunnelled jackers “Born Again” (Penman) and “Neutrino Ridin’” (Rich Jones). A thin line also emerges between these grounds, as Jorge Ciccioli’s acid roller “Owl” inches towards the back of the club. Then again, ROD’s “Moulins Three” and Aemkay’s “Missing Passengers” sound like logarithmic fun, whereas there’s tougher engineering coming to the fore. Solid ground is crossed throughout.
File under: Casah, Schubert, Camea

Matt Oliver

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