Wednesday, 1 February 2012

(Serious) Review: John 00 Fleming - The 10th Life

John 00 Fleming Tenth Life

(NOTE: I don't usually do single/EP reviews on this blog, although I guess there's no reason why I shouldn't. I haven't written a "professional" review for quite a while and this is basically my version of a serious, functional piece of dance music writing, the kind of thing you churn out week in and week out when you do this sort of thing properly. I wrote this for demonstrative purposes, but I figured I may as well throw it up here as well.)

John 00 Fleming’s first new release since the decidedly mixed bag that was his debut album 9 Lives is a self-declared return to the dancefloor. The 10th Life is a sweeping prime time progressive trancer with a swirling ambient intro, driving riffs and a tight, terse breakdown that gives you just enough time to peer over the precipice before kicking back in in banging fashion. Clocking in at a versatile 133bpm, this track is equally at home at the business end of a progressive set or early on in a full blown trance work-out, depending on which direction you slide the pitch. On the virtual flip-side, The Astrophysical Nebula does exactly what it says on the tin: a spaced out slice of lower-tempo progressive breaks primed for opening sets and adventures beyond the outer rim. The punchy percussion and gleaming synth timbres bring to mind classic Planisphere breakbeat cuts like Spectrazoids and Cubed - no surprise then that Airwave is present here on co-production duties.

There was occasionally a sense on his album that J00F was straining a little too hard to adapt his sound to a home-listening context, resulting in some ill-advised vocal tracks that brought to mind the inevitable "grown-up" moments on dance LPs circa 2001. Here he returns squarely to his native environment of the dancefloor, and yet both of these tunes are hemmed with gorgeous atmospherics and deft production touches that make them just as absorbing to hear at home as under the strobes at your local superclub. This is one of John's finest releases to date and compelling evidence that you can aim squarely for the dancefloor and still hit headphone gold.

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