Artist: Evolution
Title: Unnatural Selection
Label: Nettwerk Productions
By: Simon Jones | 20 September 2002
  1. Numb
  2. Mexican Dawn
  3. Better House Music
  4. Walking On Fire (Feat Jayn Hanna)
  5. Firewyre
  6. Crocodile Man
  7. Solina
  8. Blaster
  9. Phoenix
  10. Making Sense (Feat Jayn Hanna)
  11. Walking On Fire (Ambient) (Feat Jayn Hanna)

Evolution "Unnatural Selection"

Out Now on Nettwerk Productions

Jon Sutton and Barrie Jamieson have been producing music for almost 20 years now, playing in bands at first before delving into various ventures, one of which was working with some DJ called Sasha (remember him?), in providing a track for his first remix on their old label Postive Vinyl. From there a brief foray into the world of playing large parties and even getting airplay on MTV soon became tedious and the duo set up Fluid Recordings in 1996, with the label now almost at it's 40th release and having featured some of the best talent in the world, from Jimmy Van M to Taylor and also Andy Ling. However, it was only natural that they wanted to show that they are capable of more than running a label and producing 'dance music', so they set to work on an album, and now the fruits of their labour are now set to be released on this debut longplayer 'Unnatural Selection'

Sweeping ambient soundscapes fused with a tight progressive breaks groove introduces us into the minds of Jon and Barry for the next hour or so, as Numb unlocks your senses in preparation for what is to come next, Mexican Dawn keeping with the low tempo vibe and a deep trippy humming noise running in the background, becoming deeper as the track lifts in pace slightly. The transition into the rolling house groove of Better House Music is so subtle you almost miss it, a rolling bassline and, synth arrangements and horns come together as one as a quirky vocal sample adds an extra dimension to the track.

As the first chords of 'Walking On Fire' featuring the vocals of longtime Evolution collaborator, you know what to expect. This glorious progressive house workout has been dominating the dancefloors and radio waves for several months. Once again this meeting of minds delivers another anthemic masterpiece that will become a classic months from now. as it slowly paves the way into classic Evolution territory as the trippy piano line of Firewyre builds the momentum nicely into the eerie sounds of Crododile Man, the bassline pulsating away like a well oiled machine cranking gears as it's progressing to the next cycle, and this track sure marks a turning point in the album as the break hints at a slightly more downtempo route once more.

The lush atmospherics of Solina swim through the speakers, like waves washing upon a sandy beach, as we are swept away into a feeling of bliss and left with images of a gorgeous sunset and voyage into the dark of night. That dark of night is soundtracked by the techno influenced groove and tough drum patterns of Blaster, vocodered effects piercing the soundscape and forcing the tempo to climb higher and higher before the bottom drops out systematically and a driving synth arrangement loops over and over and evocative vocal samples filter through the speakers. Phoenix rises from the ashes of the previous track, the loops locking in with a deep bassline and synth arrangement, evolving like a rapidly changing lifeform, before one of the biggest breakdowns you will ever hear comes out of nowhere. This is almost the exclamation point on the album, an energy release of all the tension that has been buit up in the past hour before the journey starts to come to an end.

However a surprise is kept for the end as a lounge style groove and catchy melody let Jayn Hanna deliver another track entitled 'Making Sense', slow drum arrangements and deep and meaningful vocals crafting this into a superb piece of music, far exceeding any dance or electronic roots, and a track that wouldn't be out of place on daytime radio during the heat of the summer holiday season. The ambient version of Walking On Fire is in more ways than one a reprise, a secret extra to those wanting more, and Jayn's vocals fit the laid back arrangements as much as they do the house groove showcase earlier on the album. Evidence of why she is one of the hottest vocal talents and evidence that as demonstrated by this album that Evolution are comfortable in any genre they decide to put their hand to.

So there you have it. The wait is finally over. Evolution, the past, present and future. Don't think of it is the full stop of the Evolution story. Think more of it as Chapter 1. Proof that Evolution are not just about amazing club tracks, but have an untapped talent that will develop right across the world of music in the coming months and years.

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