Well, well, well….. one third into Stacey’s latest album length outing, and I’m suitably impressed. Indeed, it’s sounding much more “Detroit” than alot of his prior work dating all the way back to his 1994 Bango “Sphinx” EP for Transmat offshoot Fragile (his best work to date; in my opinion).
Many of the early tracks on the release sound very pre-1994, and would not seem out of place on second wave Detroit labels such as 430 West, Trance Fusion and Retroactive. Some nice old school, quirky and tough drum patterning; some dirty, acidic bass lines overlayed with thoughtful, original melodies and warm, ethereal padding. Check the punchy, floor-burner “Powershot” or the very intelligent “Juke” for examples of Pullen’s Detroit roots.
Apparently having served enough time with undergound labels to now produce for corporations like EMI, the album suddenly slides into more mainstreamist techno/drum n’ bass/jazz fusions. Think Ian O’Brien, Kirk Degiorgio or something from Russ Gabriel’s techno-jazz imprint - Ferox , but weaker; much weaker.
As Derrick May’s protégé, I’ve always been slightly disappointed by Stacey’s work. Sure he has delivered some excellent cuts for Fragile, Plink Plonk and Astralwerks; but, as was the case with his two prior album length releases for Transmat/R&S and Elypsia he fails to deliver an album packed with highlights. Instead Stacey teases us with a release that starts off well but fails to grow. On Australian shores, Pullen’s credentials as a DJ far exceed his reputation as a producer. I don’t imagine this release will change things.