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Koxbox - The Scanner

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Bill    85

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Koxbox

The Scanner

Zer01 Music

 

Tracklist:

1. The Scanner

2. Tropical

3. Spinning Far Away

4. We're Not Who We Think We Are

5. Color Rain

6. Little Grays

7. Sky Candy

8. Bubble Frog

9. Inside Outside

 

Twenty years after the debut of Forever After, Koxbox has delivered another masterwork.

 

The Scanner is sort of difficult to define by contemporary standards because it is so Koxbox-ian and albums rarely get this psychedelic or weird in psytrance anymore. Stylistically, let's say it's full-on if a more modern term is required to fit this thing in a neat little box. But to be most accurate this album is vintage psytrance, of an era where the lines were not so clearly defined, where an artist very much wrote their own rules on what their music meant or what sort of odd-shaped box it should be fit into.

 

This album is very much on par with their early classics (Forever After and Dragon Tales) but I'll pick this one as a favorite because it is not limited in the least by the scope of the technology used to make it. Those two early albums sound pretty dated by today's standards and if you've listened to those and wondered at what it would sound like through today's music-making abilities, well, here it is!

 

(And by no means am I suggesting this is a goa work like Forever After because it isn't. This is good old-fashioned psytrance with that good old-fashioned psytrance spirit. Even that awesome cover art screams old-school!)

 

I'm hesitant to pick a favorite because that sort of honor will probably change quite often with an album this diverse in artistic vision. The title track, "Tropical" and "Bubble Frog" are odd little mind-fucks. "Spinning Far Away," "Little Grays" and "Inside Outside" are awesome groovers with great layers of Koxbox oddness, the sort of sharp numbers that could get a dancefloor bouncing along while achieving an identical effect on the at-home listener.

 

My favorite, though, at least for now, is "We're Not Who We Think We Are," which is immediately awesome with full-on groove, dripping psychedelic effects and thick melodies that make the track instantly memorable.

 

The Scanner sounds like it could be a remaster, a crisp-sounding awesome artist album of ridiculously well-made and imagined psytrance, the type to be found only during the 1990s. This sounds like something from a vault where some kind-hearted soul decided to polish up the original DATs so they would sound nice and crisp for today's technology. The fact that this is 2015 producing is just simply awesome.

 

In a too-long line of old-school legends who have forgotten their signature sounds and dumbed things down for a wider appeal (look no further than Hux Flux' Circle Sine Sound from earlier this year) it's pretty damn cool to have one of those legends who remembers and is willing to make psytrance just like it used to be.

 

 

Koxbox Music

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Starkraver    876
:) great news!! Thanks for the review, will definitely check this out.

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Guest The Hypnotic LFO Room   
Guest The Hypnotic LFO Room

This album is very much on par with their early classics (Forever After and Dragon Tales)

 

I totally disagree. Those albums had Ian's trademark musicality all over them. When Franke goes solo it becomes Ibiza Full on vol. 1000. I loved the old Koxbox and still play it but I find this new album very very stereotype. Especially listening to those awful machine-gun basslines (enough is enough).

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healium    9

I totally disagree. Those albums had Ian's trademark musicality all over them. When Franke goes solo it becomes Ibiza Full on vol. 1000. I loved the old Koxbox and still play it but I find this new album very very stereotype. Especially listening to those awful machine-gun basslines (enough is enough).

Me too!!

 

Bill, man, I love your reviews, but I simply can't wrap my head around how you could put this album here in the same league as "Dragon Tales".. "The Scanner" comes off to me as mindless full-on psytrance with little artistic intrigue. There are some trippy sounds, but it's all strung together in a way that seems devoid of musicality and soul.. Nevermind the headache-inducing baselines that go along with it..

 

"Dragon Tales" is the sort of album that truly spins a "tale" in each track, the sort of music that you can journey deep on with headphones, one of my favorite psytrance albums ever.. I'm not saying "The Scanner" is a bad album, it has some moments in it, but I predict it will not be remembered as even one of the better albums of this year, let alone on par with classic Koxbox..

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Oopie    164

Healium wrapped it up quite well I'd say. Koxbox lost something vital with Ian Ion and Peter Candy leaving the group... now, it's not to say this album should be in any way a copy of their early material but what I am saying is that Frank'E alone just doesn't seem to find that special edge where soulful, thoughtful patterns and psychedelia come into one. It's more or less so-so arrangements where he almost pulls it off a couple of times but can't seem to able to build on those moments of good ideas. Half-baked pietrance imo.

 

This is well produced album and better than a lot of full-on, but still miles away from being truly astounding and memorable.

 

0.02$

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Bill    85

Bill, man, I love your reviews, but I simply can't wrap my head around how you could put this album here in the same league as "Dragon Tales".. "The Scanner" comes off to me as mindless full-on psytrance with little artistic intrigue. There are some trippy sounds, but it's all strung together in a way that seems devoid of musicality and soul.. Nevermind the headache-inducing baselines that go along with it..

 

"Dragon Tales" is the sort of album that truly spins a "tale" in each track, the sort of music that you can journey deep on with headphones, one of my favorite psytrance albums ever.. I'm not saying "The Scanner" is a bad album, it has some moments in it, but I predict it will not be remembered as even one of the better albums of this year, let alone on par with classic Koxbox..

 

It comes with context, I suppose. I did not get into Koxbox until much later in my psy career by which time technology had bypassed Dragon Tales and Forever After and left them sounding a bit dated. So, to me, the magic is not there like it is for some. I just don't hold those albums in very high regard, I respect them and like them but neither has ever made my jaw drop. (Except "Neurobic," my all-time favorite!)

 

On The Scanner it can be pretty cerebral stuff at times and I very much love that. And I'm a big full-on fan. This one does it for me in a BIG WAY...oh well, I'm the minority on this one, won't be the last time. :)

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healium    9

The sound production on "Dragon Tales" may not have been to today's standards - but the actual sounds they used in that album are way more colorful, creative, and trippy than in 98% of what I hear nowadays - such a diverse sound pallate, and so much creativity. I would imagine that if "Dragon Tales" were simply remastered and otherwise had the production taken up to today's standards, and then released, it would sound more "modern" and groundbreaking than pretty much everything else currently being released.. It's only the production that sounds dated..

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franki    34

I love the new album.

I'm not bothered that it's nothing like the old Koxbox - what it lacks in melody and layers, it makes up for with hypnotic grooves and a good old thump. Great dancefloor music and quite unique sounding, even with the full-on basslines - superb IMO. :D

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Taika-Kim    43

I tried listening to a few tracks, there's actually good stuff happening there, but my brain started bleeding from listening to the basslines so much that I had to stop.

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Martian Arts    49

This album sounds great to me, a 16th bassline lover. The music on top of the basslines is very distinctive. There are some killer sequences in there, very hypnotic.

I am not even going to compare it to old Kox Box. The Great Unknown is still my favorite album, but this is completely different, its like comparing apples and oranges. Its clear that Frank'e is not interested in making old school Goa, he is interested in making what he likes to make.

 

I was on the dancefloors of summer festivals in 2014 and Goa 2015. Frank'e rocked it every single time.

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exotic    43

Why wasnt the entire album like sky candy ? its missing that extra twist . Cant complain either way and help feeling that it could have been so so much better .

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Ormion    423

I find this album really lame and without judging it as a Koxbox album. I've heard this style a million times before in numerous UK psytrance compilations.

A funky bass, some fx and simple melodies. The only tracks worth talking about are the last 3 and even those ones are just ok.

It's very well procuded, but most of psytrance today is.

2.5/5

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I can't even make it through the first track.

I think I got part way into tracks 2 and 3 a couple of times and keep switching to something else

Just not interesting to me

 

Psychopod "Headlines" is still their mind-bending pinnacle for me and it was far more banging and heavy than anything with a generic 16th note bass line

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Shpongled247    76

I walked away from Koxbox sets numerous times last season in Goa... Occasionally there would be a track that would actually resemble something "koxboxy" to my mind.. but the rest of the time just.. bleh. Turns out, the bleh times were this album.. ugh. Cmon now Martian Arts, The only reason any track off here "rocked it" was because everyone was already hyped, and any set would of rocked it, and i was there with ya :) Just my 2c of course...

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Penzoline    341

Definitely half fillers but We're Not Who, Color Rain, Little Grays, Sky Candy and Bubble frog are fantastic tracks. Fun melodies and arrangements. I found them very quirky. Surprised so many disliked this as a whole.

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