Monday, February 28, 2011

Dave Betamax - Dissolved: Album Reviewed

South Florida has been enjoying the musical stylings of Dave Betamax ever since his Smut + Bass crew broke on to the scene just over a year ago. It seems like every rave or club event since then has had at least one of their representatives featured. A group that includes numerous talented DJs and producers like Sahar Berlin, Magoula, DJ Kronik, and Banaboogie. Dave is the president and leader of this colorful band of label mate flag bearers and yet he was able to put together an album that feels very isolated at times. Despite his connections to a larger collective, Dissolved is obviously a personal voyage the listener has to gather courage to really examine.

The album’s intro “Alone on Mars” is an ambient collage of bars that feel very true to its name. What I would listen to if I were Doctor Manhattan peacefully sitting on Mars pondering what it means to be Omnipotent. Two hundred and twenty-seven million kilometers from the sun, its light is already ten minutes old. So I move right along, “Plastic” is the kind of balanced mixture of deepness and pace without clocks or hourglasses that can trap the pink sands of Mars. It starts out relaxing but then picks up the energy, which is similar to the entire album.

If I had to choose a favorite track, it would be “Feelings.” Which reminds me of hearing a painter describe his body of work at the reception for his gallery exhibition. The album is his gallery and the overall theme is about missing a piece of your humanity. In Dave Beta’s case (he added the Max later because of a Facebook technicality) he leaves clues embedded in his songs titles. Whether it’s a signal that was lost, a lost heaven, or a piece of plastic that is missing life. Even 13/14.0 signifies something that’s incomplete.

On “Heaven Lost” and “The Tryst” the mood set by many of the album’s previous tracks are shaken up. It’s a leap to up-front broken beat rhythmic pleasure. We’re still on Mars but nuclear war with the Soviets is averted and its time to let loose. The title track is just over eight minutes long but really it’s just an outro featuring some more ambient goodness followed by a cover of Massive Attack’s classic “Dissolved Girl” off of their 1998 Mezzanine album.

Dissolved is the kind of music that would exist regardless of life. In Doctor Manhattan's words “an overrated phenomenon, Mars gets along perfectly without so much as a microorganism.” This is true enough but the music also lives equally within the sentient. Even if were all just on the dance floor doing the robot.

Purchase Dissolved on iTunes

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