Bulletproof Soundtrack To Forever (Dirty/Universal) CD REVIEW

Okay, so this guy is apparently a “legend” of NZ drum’n’bass with lots of mixes having been released through international imprints.

Better late than never, he’s made an album of dubstep.

So far, the information conveyed on the press release is about as impressive as the title. What’s up with that title, anyway? Soundtrack To Forever? We already had Return To Forever back in the early ‘70s. Perhaps his next album will go all jazz-fusion on us.

Plop it in the CD player. Plop, it goes. And it sounds pretty good, for about the first 15 minutes, before the mind-numbing repetition and the over-long tracks bring on a sense of pervasive entropy.

The title track features Tiki Taane on some well executed vocals, a crisp electronic groove, and elements that don’t belong in a strictly club context, like cavernous guitar sounds. That’s got to be good.

‘Airwaves’ is apparently a “neurofunk style of drum’n’bass” with added dubstep flavours, and inexplicably, is a Boh Runga remix. Runga’s crooning is kept at a floating distance, and it’s pleasantly moody.

But then it all starts to go wrong. ‘Risque’ should be called ‘Passe’, because it uses movie dialogue, and otherwise, is just a standard piece of dubstep. And on it goes, Bulletproof coming up with his “innovative” hybrid of dubstep and drum’n’bass that Scorn’s Mick Harris might have a thing or two to say about.

Some tracks are much better than others. ‘Teardrops’ is nicely liquid in an Orb, early ‘90s aqua-techno style. ‘Red Horizon’ is an Isaac Aesili and Deva Mahal remix that’s grainy and moody like mid-period Massive Attack.

There’s also some really dire stuff that Bulletproof would have been better to leave on the cutting-room floor: ‘Back In The Day’ with its regrettable rap and cheesy house/tech hybrid, ‘Step To You’ with its regrettable rap (are we seeing a theme here?) and mindnumbingly boring dubstep machinations. And so on.

While there is the odd sign of life and hint of real talent on Soundtrack To Forever, ultimately it’s another big FAIL for NZ electronic music over the course of a full album.

Sound: The album’s saving grace is its audio quality. The top end is crisp, and the bottom is fathomless in its depth. There’s a lot of great-sounding audio from electronic artists in 2010, and the engineering/mastering here doesn’t match that coming out of Germany, but it’s still one of the best-sounding electronic albums to emerge from NZ. Pity about the music. GARY STEEL

Sound = 4

Music = 2.5

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*