Reflections vol. 1
[1k/aquarius]   review from mo  

In the last eight years we've seen Asian-Tinged™ electronica grow from the underground to a movement to a massive. It has taken this long for a second wave of music to surface from the genre's seminary producers, but at long last it has, in the form of Lelonek's Reflections volume one. An aptly named compilation containing rerenderings of old favorites as well as new tunes continuing to push the envelope of styles this music encompasses.

Emblematic of this redefinition, the compilation wisely begins with a self-spawned remix of an Osmani Soundz classic, "OS System." Truly the 21st century remix of the mid-nineties dancefloor burner, the drum and bass anthem has been recontextualized as a super addictive track impossible to pigeonhole. While the original mix may never see the light of the day, slated for release on the ill-fated Anokha II compilation, this rendition births its legacy well.

Moving through the rinse of Equali's tracklet "Driftwood" the listener arrives at the epic "Hamu," featuring Lelonek's trademark breakneck breakbeat programming. One of two ferocious dnb tunes on this compilation, sure to delight global groove evangelists far and wide. Next, the last four letters of Lelonek brings us the freshest tune on this compilation: "Habibi," two-step from the cradle of civilization, an undeniably warm song meant for summer and an open road.

The roll of this compilation comes to an abrupt halt with Liquid Lounge's "Lemon Tea." At best this tune is a great representation of what it would be like to see Nitin Sawnhey in a Las Vegas lounge; at worst it's a cut that didn't make the grade for the last Bombay Jazz Palace. I think the album would be better served by rolling straight into what I believe to be its finest track, DBA's "Flowtip," a scorcher that demands multiple rewinds. Another rinse later we arrive at a remix of Lelonek's "Connections" by beatboxer extraordinaire Equali. Again, the remix beat the original to the light of day, the equally orginal Connections was also slated for release on Anokha II.

"Dil Valley," the excellent mash up of East London vibe, Detroit broken beat and wicked vocal samples serves as a prelude to the come down section of the compilation. The Michael Brooke style melodies of Sun's "Western View" are the perfect soundtrack for decompressing after a long day or night. Finally, the flutes I expected all over this record surface at the very end in a dramatic, emotionally moving arrangement reminiscent of Craig Armstrong. Truly "Food for Thought," this is a song so cinematic its hard not to paint mental landscapes with every listen; an extremely appropriate end to a well-arranged and selected series of tracks.

The forward-looking Reflections is quite possibly the best available compilation of what has come to be known as Asian Massive. The bulk of these tracks have a freshness that doesn't fade with multiple listens and a bounce that is hard to repress. A promising beginning to what is hopefully only the first of Lelonek's Reflections.

ethnotechno rating: 4.5 out of 5
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  1. Osmani Soundz :: Os System (21st Century mix) (pick)
  2. Equal-I :: Driftwood
  3. Lelonek :: Hamu
  4. 1k Science :: Habibi (pick)
  5. Liquid Lounge :: Lemon Tea
  6. Dba :: Flowtip (pick)
  7. Kulisch & Vana :: Veli Malarae
  8. Lelonek :: Connctions {Equal-I mix)
  9. 1 Piece Orchestra :: Dil Valley
  10. Dao :: Xiong (pick)
  11. Sun :: Western View
  12. Simbad :: Food for Thought (pick)