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Benza - Schwarze Now, The Defender


damion
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An early contender for album of the year. There, that got your attention didn’t it? While Europe is obsessed with big names, and the psy world is (to a greater or lesser extent) reeling from the recent flurry of suddenly-decent takes on that clean, “neo” fullon sound, from a corner of Australia comes this. Benza’s previous work has been impressive, but with Schwarze he has found his voice.

Mechanism takes the standard-fayre post-Beckers electrodiscotechgressive and adds a bit of gnarl in just the right place. The mix between fluid, flighty prog and los mas cajones just where they’re needed is compelling: you get the feeling that you’re listening to something very special indeed. Likewise Fabric. Pure outdoor dustydoof slowly picks up melodic tinges, before it goes utterly through the roof about halfway through. And I don’t mean “through the roof” in a Sesto Sento way. This is measured, unstressed, authentic stuff.

The quality and vision on this album are incredible. The two-part breaks workout of Overture/The Switch is possibly the finest case in point. The electroclash, with unapologetic 80’s stabs, has me in mind of Arif Mardin, producer of Chaka Khan; likewise the tender, ticklish Irreverence.

The Wolf gets a confident and wide-ranging rework, all the more haunting in this guise; meanwhile Everyone’s A Pornstar is like Boogie Nights recast with Peaches donning a strapon and taking Prince up the arse. Fans of Benza’s earlier (and perhaps more aggressive) output will be interested in The Collector, a driving rhythm section which is accompanied not to much by instruments and lines, but by sounds that are somehow suspended over the top to create harmony.

Finally, the ten-minute Sunday seems to sync together Iron Maiden, Shpongle and Haltya while meshing it all into the theme music for some desperately odd Manga flick.

Schwarze actually makes me with I was a producer, as I’m sure there’s a whole nother level of appreciation for those who make music. However, I’m a critic and critic’s don’t evaluate art based on the quality of the canvas.

This album is out there on its own. It’s lasting, it’s listenable, it’s funky, it’s enjoyable. I’m frothing at the mouth. It’s really that good.



10










Couldn't see a review for this one, sorry if I missed it -- the lad Benza will be in Europe over summer, does anyone know anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone who knows anyone who might like to book him? Not the place to ask, I know...
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well said .. mechanism is definately my favourite track on this and you are absolutely spot on about the gnarl in the right places

 

this album is top notch cutting edge stuff. just the right tempo mixed with lotsa funk. droooool

 

id love to hear a benzaaa live .. open air , beeer , hot ladies grooving to this music. :D

 

Two hands up in the air for benZZZZZaaaa

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one of the best artist albums of recent times for me, up there with the OOOD album.

 

it's quirky, psychedelic and beautiful all at once, and i get the feeling i'll be coming back to it for a long time.

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I have been a huge fan of Benza for a few years, and got this cd the day it came out. The first listen, I was a little disappointed, as I was expecting a more full-on morning "in yer face" sound like some of his previous tracks. However, the second time I listened to it without expectations of what Benza was "supposed" to sound like, I could really appreciate it for the masterpiece that it is. It is more subtle, yet very intricate, and delightfully groovy and psychedelic. It has barely left my cd player since I got it, and it is easily my favorite release of the year so far. As a whole, it is probably my favorite album by him. I played some of the tracks in a "progressive" set last weekend, and several people came up to me asking what I had just played (especially track 8!!!), so it does work well on dancefloors as well. So if you didn't like this the first time, or if you didn't listen to it because you think you don't like Benza's sound, please give it another listen, and I think it will grow on you. It keeps getting better and better for me the more I listen, which is too rare these days. I think this album is a true masterpiece, and will definitely stand the test of time.

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This was a nice surprise, if anything because Benza seems to be one of the few psy artists these days that has bothered to craft a (fairly) unique sound. No cookie-cutter-psy (hello Xenzodiak) here! Lots of good melodies, great production, tasteful builds and samples. The three-track "piece" of Fabric / The Overture / The Switch is awesome. And that's a point: on The Switch and Everyone's A Pornstar, Benza goes all big-beat. And it's good stuff!

 

My only complaint is that most of the tracks are a bit too long, with sections that go on without much changing. That's a very general statement, I know, but just listen to the start of Mechanism: 40 seconds of drums before the bassline comes in. Then a similar amount of time before the first main melody comes in... and most of the tracks follow the same sort of buildup structure. It doesn't sound so bad describing it, but when you're listening to it, it seems a bit lazy. Unless he meant for these tracks to be DJ tools as well, I guess.

 

Anyway, if you like this, for goodness sakes go and try Dreamforce by Vishnudata. Also an awesome "spacey" psy album.

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Uh...

I was expecting much more after reading the reviews...

 

The album has nice sounds and shows a lot creative potential, but overall feels incomplete, sort of half-ready.. empty and lacking depth.

The tracks get awfully monotonous at times as well...

 

6/10 at best

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I love this cd!

The first track it brilliant, I wish I could have made something that good.

I don't think I would call this a psytrance album. It is trance in the old tradition of doing what you like with many styles.

The funkyness was a surprise for me. I think this will be a contender for my favorite cd of 2007.

9/10 or 10/10 not sure yet

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The album has nice sounds and shows a lot creative potential, but overall feels incomplete, sort of half-ready.. empty and lacking depth.

The tracks get awfully monotonous at times as well...

My thoughts exactly. Too simple, empty and monotonous :(

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My thoughts exactly. Too simple, empty and monotonous :(

I bought this based on some good reviews but I am somewhat disappointed too, it's not psy (not a big problem for me) and it's just too repetitive. I do like some parts though, I think if loops were halved everywhere it would be a decent album.

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  • 2 weeks later...

it's not psy

Because it doesn't have a billion sound effects plastered all over the place to mask a lack of composing ability?

:drama: :wank:

 

Seriously, the main problem - as I said - with this album, is that a few of the tracks could really do with some editing. Hell, if I could be bothered to re-rip it and break out Soundforge I would... buildups take a bit too long sometimes. But what the tracks build up TO is mostly great. And, you know, isn't it nice to hear an album that doesn't have the same fucking Nord / Virus / Sytrus / Zeta presets on it for a change? :clapping:

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Because it doesn't have a billion sound effects plastered all over the place to mask a lack of composing ability?

No, because I don't see anything psychedelic about it, to me it's more club music. Loops repeating double of what is tolerable is not exactly the epitome of 'composing ability' to me. I still find the record enjoyable but it's nowhere near what some people say it is.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I think this album is brilliant - very very fresh, unique, and masterful! Favorite album this year along with Sensient...

 

It can be fairly subtle, and people are right about the way he extends the builds and sections and such, but if you really listen to it and get into it, it's just done so freakin proper and *highly* psychedelic... The sounds and rythms he uses are completely wicked...

 

If you haven't liked this album so far I would encourage you to give it another listen, preferably on a good system or headphones - you may wind up loving it - I didn't get it the first listen at all, thought it was dull...

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  • 9 months later...

This album is fantastic. Many moods and styles are combined with fresh sounds here and there creating various atmospheres and colourful images.

 

Truly one of the best albums of 2007.

Fav. track - The Wold (Eurovisionary Mix)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've had this album for a few months now and everytime I hear it I like it more - the tracks are subtle in some ways and some develop slowly, but the style and detail is superb - truly fresh and novel album - sounds like nothing else...

 

Just sharing my joy...

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I've had this album for a few months now and everytime I hear it I like it more - the tracks are subtle in some ways and some develop slowly, but the style and detail is superb - truly fresh and novel album - sounds like nothing else...

 

Just sharing my joy...

Why don't you just write it in the review section insted of opening a new thread?
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great album. lots of variety overall which shows how versatile the artist is. glad people are opening up to this album. the first time i heard it , was blown away :D

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