Sasha ‎– Airdrawndagger

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The CD / digital versions of this album are sequed/mixed from beginning to end and are therefore tagged as Mixed. The vinyl versions are unmixed with the standalone tracks in a different order.

Tracklist

Versions (18)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
74321 947862 Sasha Airdrawndagger(CD, Album, Mixed) Arista, BMG UK & Ireland 74321 947862 UK & Europe 2002 Sell This Version
67728-54725-1 Sasha Airdrawndagger(3x12") Kinetic Records 67728-54725-1 US 2002 Sell This Version
74321 952921 Sasha Airdrawndagger(3x12", Album) BMG UK & Ireland, Arista 74321 952921 UK & Ireland 2002 Sell This Version
none Sasha Airdrawndagger(3x12", TP) Not On Label none UK & Europe 2002 Sell This Version
none Sasha Airdrawndagger(Acetate, 12") Not On Label (Sasha) none UK 2002 Sell This Version
74321 948882 2 Sasha Airdrawndagger(CD, Album, Copy Prot., Mixed, Promo) Arista, BMG UK & Ireland 74321 948882 2 UK & Europe 2002 Sell This Version
74321 947862 Sasha Airdrawndagger(CD, Album, Mixed) BMG UK & Ireland 74321 947862 Australia 2002 Sell This Version
BVCP-21291 Sasha Airdrawndagger(CD, Album, Mixed) Arista, BMG BVCP-21291 Japan 2002 Sell This Version
74321 947862 Sasha Airdrawndagger(CD, Album, Mixed) Arista 74321 947862 Brazil 2002 Sell This Version
67728, 547252 Sasha Airdrawndagger(CD, Album, Mixed) Kinetic Records, Kinetic Records 67728, 547252 US 2002 Sell This Version
none Sasha Airdrawndagger(CD, Album, Mixed, Promo) BMG UK & Ireland none UK & Europe 2002 Sell This Version
BVCP-21291, BVCP 21291, 74321-97504-2, PTB-1007 Sasha Airdrawndagger(CD, Album, Mixed, Sam + CD, Comp + Ltd, Promo) BMG, BMG, BMG, BMG, Arista BVCP-21291, BVCP 21291, 74321-97504-2, PTB-1007 Japan 2002 Sell This Version
KNADV 54725-2 Sasha Airdrawndagger(CD, Copy Prot., Mixed, Promo) Kinetic Records KNADV 54725-2 US 2002 Sell This Version
74321 96571 4 Sasha Airdrawndagger(Cass, Album, Mixed) BMG Russia 74321 96571 4 Russia 2002 Sell This Version
74321 96571 2 Sasha Airdrawndagger(CD, Album, Mixed) BMG Russia 74321 96571 2 Russia 2004 Sell This Version
G010000459911O Sasha Airdrawndagger(11xFile, MP3, 320) Deconstruction G010000459911O UK & Europe 2010
74321 947862 Sasha Airdrawndagger(CD, Album, Mixed) Arista, BMG UK & Ireland 74321 947862 UK & Europe Unknown Sell This Version
74321 947862 Sasha Airdrawndagger(CD, Album, Mixed, Unofficial) Arista (2) 74321 947862 Russia Unknown Sell This Version

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kdc1174

kdc1174

March 12, 2019
edited 3 months ago
referencing Airdrawndagger, 3x12", Album, 74321 952921
Probably my favourite of Sasha’s albums. The influence of Junkie XL and Charlie May is strong on this one. The 3x12” is the best I think because a) it’s not mixed and b) you get the longer version of Fundamental, but sadly you’re not getting Cloud Cuckoo or Requiem both of which are great in their own way, but if you own the LP, you’ll likely want a copy on CD to preserve the vinyl so you’ll have those tracks anyway. You just won’t be mixing them on decks.. Can’t believe this is already 17 years old. Sounds better than most stuff out there now.
As the man himself said at Refracted Live after a great version of Wavy Gravy was played live “Charlie May everyone. Legend”. Indeed.
SYSTEM-J

SYSTEM-J

March 8, 2019
referencing Airdrawndagger, CD, Album, Mixed, 74321 947862

[Note: this is a slightly edited version of a review I originally wrote in 2009, but which has been unavailable to read online for several years now]

There are few electronic music long players out there with more mixed reviews than Airdrawndagger. Historically, it will be remembered as a flop: it received a middling critical reception upon release, and although it reached #18 on the UK album chart in 2002, it underperformed considerably even compared to disappointing albums from other electronic stars such as Orbital, Faithless and the Chemical Brothers during that same period. And yet, ask around online or amongst clubbers and you’ll probably find a generally positive, even nostalgic opinion of the album.

The reason is simple. Alexander Coe had been promising an artist album since he first exploded in popularity in the early 1990s (for whatever reason, it was decided long ago by unanimous jury that The Qat Collection was not to count). Indeed, during his more debauched moments of superstardom, Sasha would claim he’d been locked in the studio working on his album to explain cancellations and no-shows. After several years of excuses, tantalising references in interviews and a steady stream of brilliant EPs, expectation began to grow exponentially for Sasha to deliver his mythical long player. By 2002, the critics and established fans had been waiting almost a decade, and as is so-often the case, the end product failed to match the enormous weight of expectation. “Rather late in the day, Sasha makes the best album of 1993” quipped Muzik Magazine in a 3/5 review that summarised the mild bemusement that greeted this strangely retro, semi-ambient record.

At the same time, a very different audience was happening across the record, an audience with no critical voice to contribute to the historical record and no expectations to weigh the album down. By 2002 trance was in the last throes of worldwide dancefloor dominance. An entire generation of clubbers who’d been inducted into the scene during the millennial epic trance zenith were making the transition from Gatecrasher to Global Underground and more serious, reputable dance music. Turned on to Sasha by the success of Xpander across the trance scene, they encountered Airdrawndagger en masse at exactly the right moment. Sasha toured the album worldwide that year and the youthful demographic he enthralled, particularly in the US, grew up to be the serious clubbers of the following generation. To many of them Airdrawndagger is a pivotal moment in their musical development, regarded with nothing short of reverence.

So where does Airdrawndagger really lie? Is it the underwhelming flop of the history books or the progressive classic of many people’s sentiments? The answer, obviously, is somewhere between those two poles.

What’s striking about Airdrawndagger is just how much like a Sasha set it sounds. Many jocks have tried their hand at artist albums in the past twenty years, but this is a DJ’s album in the purest sense. It’s constructed like a mix set from start to finish, each track seamlessly blending into the next with close control of rhythm and tempo. It builds from an ambient intro through breaks and into 4/4 beats to climax with the killer single, the tempo of each track sliding up from a sub-120 start to the same pulsing 130+ plateau so many Sasha sets reach. Needless to say, the structure and flow are immaculate, and this is an album that demands playing all the way through for the full effect.

While this is probably Airdrawndagger’s greatest strength, it’s almost certainly it’s biggest creative weakness. For not only did Sasha look to his DJ sets for inspiration, he looked very closely at the records he would use on such mixes, and then recreated them closely with the studio help of Charlie May, Junkie XL and James Holden. This is an endlessly referential album, packed with nods to countless classic Sasha anthems. The studio helpers weren’t drafted by accident: the influence of Spooky and Holden is writ large across the album, as are the sounds of Eat Static, Scott Hardkiss the FSOL, Orbital (Immortal is an astonishingly faithful style-bite of the Middle Of Nowhere sound) and many others.

Airdrawndagger is essentially Sasha remaking his favourite records of the previous ten years of electronic music and then slotting those remakes into a small-scale DJ mix. It’s an understandably “safe” way of making an artist album, particularly a long-awaited debut, but it doesn’t result in a particularly fresh or distinctive creative product. Sasha is so wrapped up in living up to his favourite music he never really creates anything of his own. Xpander, despite its use of the Little Bullet hook, was a cutting edge record, as were Arkham Asylum, Ohmna and, to a lesser extent, Be As One and Heart Of Imagination. While some of them might sound dated today, they encapsulated the very limit of progressive, well - *progress* - when they were released, which is why each one sounds so drastically different to its predecessor. By reversing the trend and making a record so carefully classic in approach, Sasha was aiming for timelessness but fell some way short. If instead he’d had continued to push the progressive paradigm into unexplored territory, he might have created a more resonant record than the risk-averse album he ended up with.

All of which is not to say it’s a complete failure. There are a handful of wonderful moments on Airdrawndagger. Fundamental is one of the best progressive breaks tracks ever made, Magnetic North is a fine piece of liquid ambient and the closer Wavy Gravy is an example of the intrepid dancefloor approach the album needed more of. Everything is perfectly produced with a distinctively crisp shininess and as you’d expect from Sasha it flows with captivating smoothness, the highlights augmented by the album’s bigger picture. It just isn’t the album it could have been. Sasha’s music had always had plenty of home listening value: the Xpander EP is probably a better headphone record than this one, and certainly a more timeless one.

For the clubbers of 2002 who’d never heard its like before it’s understandable that this album sounded unreal, and once that kind of impression has bedded into your musical youth there’s no dislodging it. Heard through less sentimental ears, Airdrawndagger is an album that deserves more credit than it original received, but it’s some way short of the classic some would have you believe.
xabi_kiano

xabi_kiano

February 11, 2019
referencing Airdrawndagger, 3x12", 67728-54725-1

So good, arguably his finest offering. Pushing into the 2nd 1/2 (God-willing) of my life, I'm quite struck by how wonderful the F-side is--the tunes have matured in ways not typical to the dance genre, just simple, surreal ambient beauty. Other than the exquisite Bloodlock, itself surely an interpretation of Cosmic Baby's Space Track, the rest of the album is at the very least respectable &, at points, bangin'...
lubizianrecord

lubizianrecord

January 28, 2019
referencing Airdrawndagger, 3x12", 67728-54725-1

An impressive artistic electronica album .

Sasha with his magical touch will takes you to the beautiful electronic sound voyage from start to the end.

an abundace of musical escapism .
DJoA

DJoA

October 13, 2018
referencing Airdrawndagger, 3x12", Album, 74321 952921

I never understand why they didn't put the track Cloud Cuckoo on this 3x12"...
s3iyaintrance

s3iyaintrance

July 23, 2015
referencing Airdrawndagger, CD, Album, Mixed, 74321 947862
More than ten years listening this album, and just wanna say that I wanna hear it for the next 80 years too.
So beautiful, and complex, really is a masterpiece of electronic music of this era.
I hope that he come back with this kind of inspiration and left behind for a little time the deep & prog, house.
Highly Recommended.
djmgguedes

djmgguedes

December 30, 2013
referencing Airdrawndagger, CD, Album, Mixed, 74321 947862

In my top 5 artist albums, easily. bloodlock is the highlight, indeed.
jiggawhat

jiggawhat

December 29, 2011
edited over 7 years ago
referencing Airdrawndagger, CD, Album, Mixed, 67728, 547252
Its well above-average for an electronic artist album. It must be noted that Sasha got help (and quite a bit of it) on this one, and it is very likely Charlie May did most of the work. Slightly overrated, and there are a couple of filler tracks on this release. In any case, if you like ambient house then this is an essential album to have.
backindauk_

backindauk_

August 20, 2011
referencing Airdrawndagger, CD, Album, Mixed, 74321 947862
This is one of my all time favourite CDs. It has everything and is one of the few CDs i can actually listen to from start to finish without getting tired/annoyed/bored. The production quality is second to none and oozes with lush synthesized soundscapes and delicious reverb.

Well worth a listen to if you're into electronic music.
williampdx

williampdx

October 26, 2010
referencing Airdrawndagger, CD, Album, Mixed, 74321 947862

Obviously people are pretty opinionated about this album. Let me just say this... I have a collection of over 6000 albums and ep's collected over the past 15 years ranging from ambient, to house, to trance and progressive. Out of all those albums, this album is in my "top 25 albums of all time lists". Seriously.