Artist: Sasha
Title: Involver
Label: Global Underground
By: Simon Jones | 27 May 2004
  1. Grand National - Talk Amongst Yourselves
  2. Shpongle - Dorset Perception
  3. Petter - These Days
  4. Unkle - What Are You To Me?
  5. The Youngsters - Smile
  6. Spooky - Belong
  7. Unkle - In A State
  8. Lostep - Burma
  9. Felix Da Housecat - Watching Cars Go By
  10. Ulrich Schnauss - On My Own
    All tracks edited and remixed by Sasha

Sasha "Involver"Sasha "Involver"

Out Now on Global Underground

Sasha and Global Underground are almost synonymous with each other. It's impossible to mention one without mentioning the other, even if just in passing. Such is the legacy behind Sasha's appearances on the label, first in 1998 with the release of his San Francisco album, then followed a year later by his second compilation for the series, Ibiza, that they have practically become the measuring stick that many other compilations, both in the Global Underground series and on other labels are compared to even today. Indeed, it's safe to say that in many ways, Sasha is scrutinized perhaps more than any other DJ on the planet, each set dissected beat by beat, track by track and even transition by transition. Some may be wanting to find out what hot tracks he's playing so they can rush out and attempt to imitate their idol, whilst others may marvel at his mixing, questioning what it is that makes the man like, the man like..

It's been five years on, one artist album and numerous tours since Sasha last released a compilation, as his DJ schedule has flown off the charts, keeping him on the road and out of the studio. These days, you could probably name any city, anywhere in the world and the chances are that Sasha has played there. Obviously during that time things have changed. The Internet has boomed, with over 550 million people now having access to the worldwide system that has fast become part of everyday life, with many more people having access to Sasha's mixes than ever before. Quite simply the expectancy is higher than it's ever been, but Sasha is never one to do what is expected, and this album is a testament to that fact, as Sasha has decided to take some take some of his favourite tracks from the past few years and pay tribute to them in his own unique way. Every track has been rebuilt from the ground up as Sasha has used the advancements in technology to essentially remix and re-edit these tracks, layering them into one cohesive mix where he manipulates not only the sounds, but the tracks themselves, becoming more involved with the music than ever before, a fusion of Sasha the DJ, the artist, and musician, and an experience he calls 'Involver'.

Opening with cinematic grandeur, the shuffling beats and guitar refrains of Grand National's 'Talk Amongst Yourselves' prove a formidable combination, the vocal hook adding an extra dimension as the track unfolds. The melodies are contrasted by moody bass, sailing through the first ten minutes hazily, with a gritty overtone bringing a feeling of angst and unease. All the drama and emotion you would expect from the start of one of Sasha's mixes basically, and whilst Shpongle's 'Dorset Perception' continues to set the mood, funky bass stabs and guitars slowly introducing a more upbeat tempo, it's not until the first chords of Petter's 'These Days' emerge that the mix starts to come into it's own, and the real depth and idea behind it's creation becomes apparent. Moving along, the beats bob up and down, cutting through the delightful melodies that Sasha has faithfully reconstructed, seamlessly intergrating into Unkle's 'What You Are To Me' which is layered and woven over the top. It's this flawless precision that is provides that undefinable x factor to Sasha's sets, and here on this cd it helps to further that idea of a unique listening experience. One bassline is replaced by another, and soon deep sub bass is carrying us into Sasha's own interpretation of the excellent 'Smile' by The Youngsters. The original is an outstanding piece of production and with the rippling hooks and Detroit style 303 bassline that have been added, Sasha takes both the track and 'Involver' to another level. Haunting sounds and a catchy indie vocal will draw you in amongst the kaleidoscopic sounds, immersing and involving you even more.

The marching drum intro and swirling ambience of Spooky's 'Belong' lowers the tone of the mix, the tempo soon finding it's way back to it's prior pitch, albeit in a reconstructed and more hypnotic stance, the angelic voice of Julie Daske fading away into the spiraling downtempo outro, placing the foundation for the finale section of the cd. Unkle's 'In A State' has been reworked by Sasha in the past, but here he strips it down to it's groove and places the other elements in randomly, for this isn't merely one jigsaw puzzle, but a whole montage of them. The vocals are kept to a minimum, with a looped guitar refrain resonating through the familiar breakdown of the track, and continuing to blend into Lostep's 'Burma' which follows. Swinging back and forth, the vibrant bassline and pads create a rocking groove, sounds bubbling in the background before sliding through to the forefront of the mix, constantly effecting the haunting hook of the track which cuts through the centre, building to an intensive main section that is the pinnacle of the mix, the point where the release comes, but as always Sasha has a final surprise or two to throw in, and whilst the analogue hooks and acid snares of Felix Da Housecat's 'Watching Cars Go By' do a fine job of slowing the tempo down, it's vocal cutting it's way into your mind, it's the rocking edit of Ulrich Schnauss' magnificent 'On My Own' that encores this cd, with a few tweaks and twists adding a futuristic punk vibe to the grungey bassline and guitar solo, Sasha closing the mix with the same grandeur that he opened it with, thus concluding another chapter in the audio biography of one of the world's most well known and respected DJs.

'Involver' is an advancement of Sasha - both the DJ and artist, and whilst the idea behind the project isn't entirely pushing new ground, each track is strong enough to stand on it's own, with the overall production quality of the consistent standard you would expect from Sasha, and whilst personally there are one or two moments for me where things linger for too long before finding the right path, each listen will bring you a different experience and reaction, so sit back, immerse yourself in a pair of headphones, and get involved.

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