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Koxbox: The Scanner 2015 . ZERO ONE MUSIC


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After 3 full listens my short review would be: it should have been better, but it also could have been a lot worse - style-wise it's like British psy-trance, i.e. focused on atmosphere, layers, sound-trickery, atonal blips & blops and while there are some melodic passages here & there, it's never the main focus. It's all very playful, even experimental at times and still has that vintage Koxbox' feel. My main gripe would only be with regards to the full-on bass lines that really hold it back, I think - I'd appreciate some more craziness in the bottom-end of the sound spectrum. Still, I need to give it some time to grow, though - such things can hit you hard when you least expect it.

 

BTW, mastering is fine ^_^

 

Great short review (as usual). I often wonder why you don't contribute more to the review section as I often appreciate what you've written.

 

It's interesting, I went in to this one with low expectations and got floored. Then went in expecting a great listen and came away kind of disappointed. Then just let it be what it is and it was great again - haha. It's that kind of album!

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Guest antic

Great short review (as usual). I often wonder why you don't contribute more to the review section as I often appreciate what you've written.

I used to be pretty active, also in reviews section, but I really have too little time now. Also, I feel I'm pretty critical - hopefully in polite & constructive manner - but it's usually frowned upon here and ends up in mud slinging, so yeah :)

 

 

It's interesting, I went in to this one with low expectations and got floored. Then went in expecting a great listen and came away kind of disappointed. Then just let it be what it is and it was great again - haha. It's that kind of album!

I have a feeling you'd like Nervasystem's "4" - it's everything Koxbox should have been - deeply psychedelic, groovy, inventive & non-conformist. I really love it and will try to post my review over the weekend.

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  • 2 months later...

Ah KoxBox...

 

I got the album and my impression is that they tried the best they could to sneak in a whiff of the original pshychedelic gradients of the "Dragon Tales" and "Forever After" while rigorously sticking to the full on rhythm and bass sections, no deviations allowed if you want to get booked. It works for what it is, but in my opinion doesn't deserve the KoxBox alien on the cover, not even close. If they allowed for more playfulness in the rhythm and bass part of the album and everything in general, it would have been far better.

 

Personally I have hoped to hear the brilliance of "The Great Unknown" again, but instead was welcomed to an as generic as possible bass, percs and hats, with an occasional remake of successful melodies from "Dragon Tales" and "Forever After" sounding as if they were remade by someone else, not the original author. But even those whiffs are added just for a few seconds and then back to safety. Instead of working great for me, they simply make want to pop in the originals and listen to the real deal, not some diluted, cowardly version of it.

 

The way it is I constantly have to force myself NOT to hit the skip button and listen the songs to the end, again and again in some hope that I will discover something that just simply isn't there anymore. This is what it sounds like when incredibly skilled and experienced artists make music for money, and the simple fact that i KNOW that they can do a hell of a lot better makes this album a no go for me.

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Guest The Hypnotic LFO Room

@ Angry Dwarf. You write "they". But fact is Koxbox is only one person now = Frank'e. And without the real Masterminds behind Koxbox on the early releases (Peter Candy) and later as an example "Dragon Tales" with Ian from Overlords it's gone fast downhill (and commercial upwards) for Koxbox as Frank'e (IMO) is not the one who made Koxbox special. It's 100% evident on his last two albums and inspired by the Ibiza full-on scene al'a GMS etc...

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Musical taste aside, I don't agree that the older albums sound dated. Dragon Tales is still one of the most complex psy/goa releases, and the mixing/production comes off better than most albums today.

 

I see a lot of comments about producing for the modern dancefloor. But AFAIK, we haven't made a giant leap in production quality since the 1990s, it's just much more convenient/less expensive now that computers can take the place of a big studio. But feel free to correct me on that.

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@Hypnotic LFO Room, when I say they I mean FrankE and Illionton, since they are credited on the album. And yes I agree, it is more than obvious that Peter Candy and Ian Ion were the ingredient that made KoxBox stand out so prominently in the first 3 releases (well Peter was only on first 2). I listened to the album a few more times over the past few days and it's shameful how lasy of an album it is. As generic psy it works ok, but then FrankE should not muddle the name KoxBox built at the end of the 20th century. If he'd release under something like Frank.E or anything similar, i wouldn't have a problem with this. But to use both KoxBox name AND the alien from the Forever After, that's low...

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  • 1 month later...

I like it. I like it *very* much. I was disappointed with U-turn, but this is terrific:

 

- I love how all the basics (kick, bass, hats, perc) are sooo simple. It has juuust what is necessary, but is curated so well that it sounds like an entire world.

- I love how the arrangements are song-like with verses and choruses. Classic Koxbox move.

- I love how the tunes are different. Sooo simple, but still otherwordly and hypnotic - just like in the old days.

- I love how the synthesis madness is not the focus, but just the backdrop of an incredible odd space. This is for me better than many parts of Dragontales, in which the FXs takes too much over.

- I love how the tunes and soundscapes takes me up and down, twistin' roun', without being obvious about it.

- I love how the production is extrEmely well done, and fits the music perfectly.

 

- I love how my expactations of being disappointed weren't met! I'm blown, and all the Koxbox albums are spinning again!

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