Artist: Sasha
Title: Airdrawndagger
Label: BMG
By: Simon Jones | 3 July 2002
  1. Dremples
  2. Mr Tiddles
  3. Magnetic North
  4. Cloud Cuckoo
  5. Immortal
  6. Fundamental
  7. Boileroom
  8. Bloodlock
  9. Requiem
  10. Golden Arm
  11. Wavey Gravy

Sasha "Airdrawndagger"

Out Now on BMG

Sasha. An icon in the dance industry. From his early days at Shelley's and the Hacienda in Manchester, to the more recent groundbreaking Delta Heavy tour with long time friend John Digweed. From Renaissance to Space, Ibiza. From New York City to Bondi Beach, 'the man' as he's sometimes called has wowed crowds time and time again, and in the studio has worked with the best in the business, including William Orbit and BT, and remixed artists such as Madonna and the Chemical Brothers. The list goes on. Be it his much vaunted Global Underground mix CDs or the hugely acclaimed Xpander EP. Sasha can do no wrong. For years many have anticipated, waited eagerly for Sasha to deliver his debut long player and now with the help of his friends, including Spooky's Charlie May, Dutch producer Junkie XL, up and coming producer James Holden and sound producer Simon Wright, he finally delivers the goods. So without further ado, lets delve into the sounds of Airdrawndagger.

Sublime analogue chords trickle through the speakers as the synth echoes. Atmospheric ambience builds the mood before the sounds slowly wash away as Dremples introduces us to what is sure to be an experience. As the minimal bass line of Mr Tiddles unfolds, slowly revealing a deeper meaning, synth effects erupting like lost souls in heaven, you start to slowly open your eyes and mind further to what is unfolding before your ears. As the voices die, a deep and rapid bass hook emerges from the darkness, subtle key changes weaving and bonding with soft shimmering drum effects to create a nu skool rhythm that slowly sets you up for the next stop on this voyage into the unknown. As the silence comes momentarily, you pause for breath and wonder where Sasha is going to take you next.

Ethereal unearthly sounds warble and crash, cries simmer through the speakers, as a deep drum beat bubbles it's way to the surface, tough key arrangements washing softly over the beat pattern, emulating a futuristic rework of a classic Pink Floyd guitar riff, before the synth melody of this bizarrely named Cloud Cuckoo filters down nicely into an unexpected key change and the drum shimmers back to the surface. slowly fading into a nice reversed beat laid over a subtle series of hi-hats, the sinister horror film melody line rising, falling and etching its way around the battlefield of this brooding nu skool cut known as Immortal, crashing and burning as robotic fx approach from the distance, getting closer and closer as the twisted breaks of Fundamental drown out the noise, slowly building like an industrial machine before an analogue stab introduce a mores code beat arrangement, as atmospheric electro effects pulsate in the background. As the machine grinds to a halt, it's replaced by a deep and dreamy hook that sounds like the pistons of another section of this creation coming to life.

As the next sequence initiates, a continuous loop slowly rises and falls, as if it is searching for it's next instruction. This comes in the form of some low frequency breakbeats echoing and fluctuating below the loop as spacey atmospherics emerge and the main program of Boileroom initiates, as the breakbeats fluctuate between low notes and deep treble, with the atmospherics bridging the gaps in between perfectly. As the track evolves the breakbeats are replaced by a heavenly melody that signals one last instruction before the beats give way to a low rumbling bassline that drives right in as the synth arrangement rides right over the top, leading the way before bassline gains intensity and the synths rain down, interrupting the flow of the bass, before harmonious synth melodies enter from both the left and the right, as the hi hats trickle down the track evolves into a tougher driving direction towards the end, paying homage to the classic German sound championed by Sven Vath all those years ago, Bloodlock sounds like it as crossed the fabric of time, evolving as it does, before fading out once more.

As you close your eyes and drift away to the atmospheric synths that form the subtle electronic guitar-esque riff of Requiem, your senses tingle as each synth slowly fades into a lush bleep arrangement before each in turn fading to nothing, before a bassline rattles back in. A panning synth circles, looping itself over and over echoing effects bounce off this effect like a Catherine wheel exploding, spinning out of control, as the madness of Golden Arm subsides, and you imagine the sun rising over the dark of night, replacing the moon in the sky, glimmers of light peering through as the synth melody washes over you, evoking a feeling of warmth and happiness as subtle breakbeat arrangements ripple underneath the melody as Wavey Gravy brings the album to a close. However 3 minutes in and the most stunning synth melody sneaks out from behind the bassline. It's the final surprise of this magical journey. It's the final stop on this mystery tour. It's like your favourite childhood memories, and then more, as the melody swoops gently in the wind, the album comes to an end and leaves you feeling all warm and tingly.

Many years in the making. Much expectation placed. It's been a long and winding road for Sasha, but he's never lost pace. You will return to this album time and again, and for the first few listens you will pick up on sounds and feelings that you missed previously and as time goes by, but above all you will realise that whilst he is indeed just human, there is a reason he is sometimes called the Son of God.

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