Friday, 30 December 2011
Review: Blue Motion - Stay Forever
Before I listened to it properly, I thought Blue Motion's debut LP Stay Forever was a drum 'n bass album. A minimal drum 'n bass album, certainly, but still a drum 'n bass album. It came out on Influenza Media, who are one of my subscribed labels on Beatport, and who pump out soulful melodic minimal drum 'n bass. Stay Forever certainly starts with a drum 'n bass track, the brilliant Walking Through The City, which opens on field recordings of a bustling city street and slowly unfurls an increasingly complicated drum 'n bass rhythm over super-moody ambience. However, that's about as up-tempo as the album gets (not very) and from there it actually gets progressively moreambient, until we're in ASC territory. The beatwork may be derived from drum 'n bass, but this is not an album about the beats, for the most part. I guess you could call it post-dnb, because minimal barely seems to cover how tenuous the connection is. There are a couple of soulful, slightly syrrupy moments such as One Step Away From Your Love, but for the most part this is extremely dark and moody.
Once I'd recovered from the unexpected direction of the record, I began to enjoy it massively. I know the term "deep" is about as wanky as it gets when describing music, but honestly this album is extremely deep. As in, it makes you feel deep. I don't mean it makes you feel intellectual and sophisticated, I mean you feel immersed. Lost. Floating. Around the eighth track, I did start to get just a tiny bit bored, but then the beautiful closing track The Path Unwalked got me back onside again. This, put simply, is a rainy day album. Music for watching raindrops splatter the window pane that separates you from the grey world outside, where everything looks cold but you still feel warm. It's melancholic and chilled and meditative. It's pretty fucking awesome, is what I'm trying to say.
A lot of guys are jumping on the minimal bandwagon right now, but Blue Motion manage to avoid making wallpaper lounge music. This is an album that would stand up to the most ardent ambient fan. I definitely feel this is going to need a few repeat listens to really decide just how good it is, but at the moment it's certainly hovering towards a 9/10. I guess I would have liked one or two up-tempo tracks near the end to vary things up a little, because although there are modulations in mood it does start to sound a little samey for a spell. For now, we'll mark it down as an 8/10, but I've been listening to music for long enough to know when an album's gonna be a grower, and this one has the potential to really become a favourite.
Genre: Ambien /drum 'n bass
Stupid Arbitrary Rating: 8/10, possibly maybe