Reflections Vol. 2
Reflection/ri'flekshun/[n]: a calm, lengthy, intent consideration; expression without words. The name Fridel Lelonek may not mean anything to your average music aficionado but if you're one of the obsessive, the passionate who consider Anokha: Soundz of the Asian Underground the fusion underground's equivalent of Nevermind or Dark Side of the Moon, then you're obviously aware of the significance of that name. Lelonek was responsible for 'Kismet,' one of the hardest-hitting, most caustic cuts on what has to be the most name-checked disc on this site. There are so few producers who have been around since the very beginning, back when the Asian Underground was limited to only the four walls of the Blue Note on London's East End. Lelonek had found a fan in Talvin Singh who had this to say about the German-born producer in Anokha's liner notes: "The man so distant yet so close... the man with serious taste." If the godfather of Asian breaks says that about you, you better be ready to bring the noize, and bring it hard.
The original massive go their separate ways, and Lelonek resurfaces with the first installment of a new series, Reflections One in 2000. His 1K Records becomes synonymous with the global electronic underground and soon he teams up with like-minded and fellow Anokha alum, Claas Sandbothe (DJ DBA), both as a label partner as well as a collaborator, recording together as 1K Science. Why the history lesson? Because like most other forms of artistic expression, music is best appreciated in context, even when it lacks words.
Vol. 2 is a deeper, more inspired journey into the world of 1K - where deep and fast breaks co-exist with more ambient textures and strings that echo the environs of some of the world's most distinct and musically rich areas. While also introducing a few new faces onto the scene, DBA and Lelonek's individual and collaborative cuts manage to demand the most attention - something this installment has in common with the first. There is truly something to be said about experience over youth. The most exciting tracks are driven by rapid tempos, precise and droney synth melodies and spirited mantras that even your average fusion-bashing purist would get down to ("Soham" and "Bliss"). When almost everyone else is taking their BPMs down a notch (don't believe me? Just check the new releases on the left of your screen), it's refreshing to see drum n' bass is alive and kicking.
The groove then takes a decidedly Balearic twist - sunny guitars, shuffling percussion and all - with "Siete Huellas." Until this moment, you never thought a fiddle could sound so breezy and refreshing. Obviously Spain's Latrama is someone we all need to hear more of, especially before all the coffee-table mixes start scooping this piece up.
"Ricola Light" and "Liquid" could not be farther apart, thematically, even if they tried. The former is a straight string-laden house number that starts upbeat and doesn't want to come down. The IDM-laced latter is intent on drowning you in percussion waves that sound almost as foreboding as they do inspiring. Both hold the fingerprints of DBA, "Ricola Light" being a 1K Science affair.
Dao's "Bashira" and "Path of Life" by Mourad X are both forays into Arabtronica, equal in scope to "Habibi" on Reflections One. Lelonek's "Rumors" keeps you guessing with its broken beat patterns, reminiscent of minimalist-inspired Detroit grooves. The ancient yet timeless "Passion" seems to pick up where "Bliss" left off, fittingly bringing the compilation to a lilting end; I like to think that the 1K crew is telling us to hang in there until the next installment. Just don't make us wait another three years.