Julien Dyne – Glimpse (BBE/Rhythmethod) CD REVIEW

IF THE NAME sounds vaguely familiar, but you can’t quite place it, here’s the story: Dyne is a drummer/producer/DJ hailing from Wellington, who has performed with Ladi6, Opensouls and Fat Freddy’s Drop, but these days is based in Berlin, where he cranks out albums like this for European dance labels like BBE.
Dyne combines ‘70s cosmic disco with a little Parliament-style mutant funk around the edges, and a methodology highly redolent of Prefuse 73 (aka Scott Herren), whose desiccated instrumental hip-hop mixed with shredded vocal sampling and odd beat metrics made the music world a better place about 10 years ago.
Glimpse lopes quickly through 19 tracks of mostly instrumental grooves, and even those featuring vocalists find the voices mixed right down into the sounds: the best of these is ‘So Far’ with Mara TK, which brings an emotive soul flavour to an album that many might find a bit wanting in that respect.
It’s an unlikely album, but easy to like in small doses. His synth/keyboard textures float appealingly by, but are anchored by boxy bass, disco clap-tracks and constipated beats. Also thrown into the mix are post-production manipulations like vinyl run-out crackle and hints of computer malfunction. There’s no real “room” sound to take the music out of its sampler and give it life on a home stereo, and the recording’s aesthetic seemingly demands that the bass be devoid of texture or sonic gravitas.
In the end, Glimpse reveals itself to have a limited palette that gets a little stale over the long haul, but which will undoubtedly sound good as an occasional track popping up on “shuffle”. GARY STEEL
Music = 3.5
Sound = 3

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