ammo is yet another creative output of john sellekaers and c-drik. as with any recent metarc-related material, this release focuses on complexity and perfection of its sound. ammo has been released both in the states by gun music and in europe by flyco, both cd versions differ by few remixes and one additional track on flyco version.
ammo is john’s venture into the world of drum&bass. here the duo once again managed to come up with its own unique interpretation loosely based on drum&bass genre. “the age of terminal irony” is not distorted and overloaded chaos of bands on praxis, c8 or isolate records, nor it is an easy appealing melodic groove of mainstream drum&bass. this is where the similarity to xingu hill comes into place; as with xingu hill music, you have to listen closely before starting to truly enjoy this release. although a casual listener should find this album very appealing, there is a lot more to it that takes attention and an effort to get into, but the result (as with xingu hill) is well worth it.
the cd opens with eerie atmosphere of “ghost phalanx” filled with small noises, random clicks, pops, atmospheric shifts and deep string movements; this living, breathing dense mechanized mass is slowly evolving into heavily layered drum&bass rhythms that shift, advance, collide and develop independently of each other maintaining high-bpm drive. controlled static, drilling sounds, liquid echoing movements form a whole universe of sounds that bring an incredible depth and mystery to the track. all those layers never overload each other, sounding clean and perfectly arranged.
following “the sniper syndrome” is full of resonating bass grooves and swirling, bubbling layers of perfected electronics. the sounds behind the persistent drive of high-speed percussion seem to live on their own, blooming with distant strings, fading into short bass movements, echoing with drill&noise textures and fascinating with controlled noisy crashes.
the depth of heavy bass is what distinguishes “an unexpected guest.” liquid body of the track is full of dense percussion layers, dissonant strings and twisted noises, fading piano pieces complete strange and mysterious atmosphere. this track is probably the darkest and most visual on this disk, provoking thoughts and emotions with its sheer depth and richness of sound.
bizarre mix of deranged noises and dark drive of “psychoville” is something I would expect to hear from silk saw, but the contrast here is more striking with the resulting phantasmagoric surreal world that seems to develop independently of pulsing drum&bass rhythm.
as for the remixes, implant blew me away when they accentuated the driving force of “the sniper syndrome” adding heavy-hitting percussion, trading emotion for the complex subtleties of the original. the nature of this track has been transformed into a pummeling mix of industrial, techno, speedcore and drum&bass.
silk saw mix of “the sniper syndrom” sounds a bit muddied and it lacks usual band’s funkiness; takshaka focuses on certain percussion aspects of “an unexpected guest”, making it somewhat heavier and less accelerated. I was looking forward to the dryft’s remix, since I have been trying to compare their approach with ammo’s flavor of drum&bass. dryft (and, I suppose, gridlock as of late) is working closer to the standards established by the genre, focusing on perfect execution, precise composition and emotional delivery, not trying to build exquisite, dense and complex textures ammo is after. with this distinction in mind it would be hard to compare those two, since they are bound only by stylistic similarities and differ in their goals.
in its mix of “the sniper syndrome” dryft has accomplished what I was hoping for, using deep gorgeous strings and extended pauses in a way gridlock is famous for. combine this with explosive cleaned-up drum&bass loops, killer composition and deep bass and you have a highly emotional and powerful track.
imminent closes the disk with extremely accelerated version of “psychoville” that falls just short of being too fast, lacking heaviness and crunchiness of imminent and eccentric appeal of the original.
this release is a triumphant exploration of drum&bass genre by the metarc crew; the result is truly eclectic sound, a wonderful sonic candy that in addition to its distinct dark and edgy atmosphere manages to please any audiophile with its richness, unpredictability and uniqueness.