Artist: Sasha
Title: Invol2ver
Label: Global Underground
By: Ryan Simoneau | 27 August 2008
  1. Badger - Intro
  2. Telefon Tel Aviv - You Are The Worst Thing In The World
  3. Rone - Flesh
  4. Sasha Vs Ray La Montagne - Eclipse
  5. Sasha Vs Adam Parker - Lowlife
  6. Charlie May - Midnight
  7. Apparat - Arcadia
  8. Home Video - That You Might
  9. Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch
  10. M83 - Couleurs
  11. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
  12. Sasha - 3 Little Piggys
  13. Engineers - Sometimes I Realise

Sasha "Invol2ver"Sasha "Invol2ver"

Out Now on Global Underground

For many, Sasha’s long-awaited follow-up to the seminal original has had as much hype as this summer’s “The Dark Knight” but the question remained: would it be able to top its legendary predecessor? Or would it be a forgettable sequel? Now, after over four years of waiting, the answer finally arrives.

Sasha’s legendary status was cemented when he changed the game by delivering arguably one of the best and most forward thinking mixes, when the original “Involver” came out in the summer of 2004. Since then, he’s been busy touring, releasing several compilations and also starting his own record label, emFire. When “Fundacion” came out in 2006, many hoped it would continue along the lines of “Involver” while some longed for more of a “pure” club record. While it was a solid, if unspectacular compilation, it certainly didn’t set the scene abuzz like “Involver” did. He then teamed with the company, Instant Live, to release a 2-cd album recorded live and on the spot from a set he played at Avalon in Los Angeles. I was at that show and again, a solid set but for me, lacked the excitement that “Involver” provided. However, I got really worried upon hearing Sasha’s original tracks that were eventually compiled for the first emFire compilation. While many would argue these were just experiments for the club, what my ears heard was tuneless, minimal drivel that I couldn’t believe the man himself was associated with. If it wasn’t for the accompanying film score to a surf movie he composed, I was thinking he had lost himself to the latest genre trends, rather than blazing his own way as he had always done in the past.

So it was with great trepidation and anticipation when I hit play on “Invol2ver,” unsure of what I would be in store for. Sasha had said this follow-up would be “a straightforward club record,” which for me meant I had to accept that the genre-crossing greatness of the original would be left behind. As with all sequels, change is mandatory but would it be for the better?

The moody opening intro sets the scene before morphing into Sasha’s take on Telefon Tel Aviv’s upcoming single, “You Are The Worst Thing In The World”. Much like how the original “Involver” opened, this is a mid tempo beast that chugs along but provides plenty of glorious melody to kick things off. Sasha has wisely retained the original’s majestic melody, which he uses to build up the track before bringing the beats in. But where the original is a slow-burning, broken-beat affair, Sasha has picked up the pace by giving the tune a progressive kick drum thump and has maximized and spliced up the shimmering vocals, incorporating them as just another instrument in the track. After such a stellar opening, Sasha digs in deeper with his take on Rone’s “Flesh”. The tempo picks up where the last track left off and really bridges the gap nicely before “Eclipse” hits. Ray LaMontagne is gaining exposure quickly in the indie scene but here, Sasha uses only snippets of his voice and combines them with a warm, deep groove. Things begin to take a turn to the dark side as vocals swirl in and out as echo effects and bubbling basslines are brought to the forefront.

The middle section of the album is where tracks by Charlie May and Apparat combine to take us deeper down the rabbit hole before finally emerging with Sasha’s big room take on Ladytron’s “Destroy Everything You Touch”. Robo-electro vocals from the Ladytron girls bring to mind the much-maligned Felix Da Housecat remix from the original “Involver”. While that one was very grating on the ears, here, Sasha’s obligatory “cyber-cut” has the direct opposite effect. The vocals are a welcome return after so much grooving and the track serves as the perfect bridge into the last act of the album.

Perhaps the biggest tune on “Invol2ver” is Sasha’s mix of M83’s “Couleurs”. He retains all of the original’s soaring synths and when the kick drums hit, you feel as if you’re flying. This is the tune that will set dance floors on fire around the globe. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, he drops in Thom Yorke’s “The Eraser” over the tail end of the track. The vocal works so well with the M83 track you wish it would stay around longer, but that’s what the second CD is for. I can’t say enough about these two tracks as they are simply spellbinding. Anyone who felt Sasha has lost his grip at captivating a club needs to look no further than this one-two knockout punch.

As we near the end, Sasha’s original track, “3 Little Piggys”, emerges with a killer bassline and lots of peaktime power as it works us up to the epic closer, “Sometimes I Realise” by The Engineers. Sasha’s take on this track retains the band’s original bruising bassline but Sasha gives the tune his signature thumping kick which makes this well suited for the club and is the perfect way to close out this album.

This album ventures off into different directions but also retains much of what was loved about the original. While the first “Involver” did offer up more diverse musical styles, there is just as much melody and emotion in the follow-up. If anything, this sequel will most likely be adored by more fans than the first as it sticks to the dance floor and never veers off course. The remixes are stellar and one can hear the amount of love put into this album by simply putting on a pair of headphones and letting the journey begin. Following up a classic is never easy and you can’t please everyone but here Sasha has done a sensational job and delivers what will surely be hailed as one of the best albums of the year.

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