Artist: Deepsky
Title: Brambledog
Label: Baroque Records
By: Devon Shaw | 30 November 2006
  • A: Original Mix
  • B: Trent Cantrelle Mix

Deepsky "Brambledog"

Out Now on Baroque Records

A few years ago, the dance music scene witnessed a trifecta of labels that tragically fell to financial hardship: Bonzai Music in 2002, and Hooj Choons and Kinetic Records in 2003. Bonzai was eventually relaunched and Hooj is slated for a 2007 return. But the timing invariably led to a number of abandoned projects and releases by artists, many that will never see the light of day. Such is the case with Deepsky's untitled album originally slated for release by Kinetic in 2004. In 2005 Proton Music picked up 'Lost In The Moment' for a remix contest, and Release Records signed 'Ghost' with a pack of remixes. Here in 2006 'Brambledog' finds it's way to a proper release, alongside a remix by Trent Cantrelle. How does this blast from the past fare? Let's find out.

The 'Original Mix' immediately begins banging away, returning to Deepsky form with 4/4 progressive trance beats, offsetting with percussion on the downbeats. The compositional layering is expertly done, particularly between the drums and effects panning. But then those synths - those awful Virus trance riffs we buried at the scene of raves before the turn of the century - creep in and take over. Just when you think you've survived the itch to tear the headphones from your head, a blues harmonica of all things emerges in the breakdown and rides alongside the trance stabs for the duration of the track. I found myself dancing in my living room and tapping my fingers on the table, indulged by a combination of sheer bemusement and delightfully guilty pleasure. I also quickly checked to make sure I was the only one in the room.

Faced with a cheese trolley of loops and effects (one in particular swiped from a wildly popular trance anthem), Trent Cantrelle's single blessing could be that the remix would sound nothing like the original. Except it sounds exactly like it. Tit for tat, with a few slightly re-arranged elements, including the constant re-sampling of every element to make sure we didn't miss them the first time. I enjoyed this one too, but eventually sought out beer and pretzels to go with the harmonica.

The release is a sign of mercy to Deepsky fans, starved for material after the promise of an album over two years ago. Unfortunately, it's utter sonic torment to everyone else. 'Brambledog' is dated, and sounds it. The frenetic, overzealously bouncy drums and trance stabs sounded great in 1999 when 'Stargazer' dominated the landscape, by now it's become a tired rehashing of a sound gone stale and rustic. I'd say they were capable of better than this, but that remains to be seen for the time being.

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