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Rhythm Bestowed Upon Light Years
on October 25, 2007
After following the evolution of Dave Seaman's Therapy Sessions, I was skeptical and at once intrigued about its fourth installment. In my opinion, Dave's mixes have been getting progressively less inspired whilst his guest's mixes have been maintaining optimum levels of quality. Since Dave's guest DJ was not available to contribute to this release, he's decided to mix both discs himself. Artistically speaking, the room he's left with provides more than enough fodder with which to resurrect the series. And, quite frankly, he does just that.
The first disc confirms this no-nonsense mixture of progressive electro-house, beginning with excellent tracks by Gui Boratto and Trentemoller. By the third track, accessibly spacey riffs and slightly sinister bass take the reigns; with the aid of some intense kick drum, Therapy Sessions 4 carries itself past the breakers that marred earlier volumes and sets sail in open waters. Courtesy of a mind-blowing selection of artists, the mix fluoresces and the basslines continue to evolve and bore into the center of this mix. The only thing keeping them from breaking loose and taking the album by storm, apparently, is the metronome! "The Dig" strikes a comfortably chaotic and exotic 'world music' chord. But before things become too cerebral, a nice and nasty explosion of energy moves into the picture from Guy J's "Been Here Before" and a nice little classic, "Mexico Can Wait," and even further onward as Seaman leaps with newfound agility from one build to the next. Disc one's demeanor anchors the mix at an intense but steady level, with just enough stirring of the pot so as to prevent it from becoming as bubbly and monotonous as TS3. No more microhouse; neither is it an average mix of easy dance tracks like TS2 was. The accapella of "Don't Be Silent" mixed over Stephan Hinz' remix of "Intersection" has mid-90's vocal quality layered over the foundation of modern funkified electro-house - which makes for a pretty damn interesting combination of aural craft! As if it weren't enough that Dave has, by this point, eclipsed his last two TS mixes, the progression from 16 Bit Lolitas' "Home Made Rolls" > Rekorder's "Rekorder 7.1" > Christian Fischer Vs. Hybrid - "I Know" sends electricity into the air. For a two-disc set, disc one is crafted with surprising intensity. That being said, it is further enhanced by an exotic, bouncy and fantastically FRESH sound!
The beginning of disc two recalls fond memories of Seaman's GU: Melbourne as it subtly moves a sexy piano-laden overture with genuine vocal performance. A track truly fit for a connoisseur. I thought it odd to follow Charlie Chan with UNKLE, but Dave's creativity has obviously matured into something deliberative - the calculation here being mixing, which is wonderful. Presslaboys' "Come Back To Brazil" gives serious momentum to the second mix with a twisted energetic frenzy that I haven't heard from Dave for quite some time. Seriously twisted. Sound morphs from choppy minimal inserts into raging epidemics of the latest proggy-electro sounds, for which adjectives elude me. The mid-album remixes of Butch, Vincent Vega and Nathan Fake are welcome deviations from the originals and seem to follow suit with the new sound Dave develops. Twenty-five minutes into the mix I find myself engulfed in sinisterly distorted mania, reminiscent (just a little!) of James Zabiela's unorthodox touch. For a Seaman mix this is an extremely unexpected approach and I think it fits the album's moody and slightly... schizophrenic nature. The album's timbre turns predominately spacey and atmospheric towards its closure. In fact, sounds bob in and out of `atmospheric,' from ambient all the way to retro-tribal. The most disagreeable aspect of Dave's latest project falls in the most unfortunate of places - that is, the last track of the second disc. After such a successfully genre-defying mosaic of sound, the vocals in "Please" are low-caliber for such a high-quality album. Perhaps Armin or the like could have gotten away with the use of such an... unfortunate track, but not Dave Seaman. Nonetheless, the fluke is easily overlooked in lieu of all that preceded.
Speaking honestly, it took three intensive tries to access this album, but I've concluded that what Dave Seaman accomplishes with The Therapy Sessions, Volume 4 is absolutely incredible. It mangles common genres, makes mockery of recent progressive-electro mix attempts, and reinvigorates Dave's sound with the unconventionality that first brought him to my attention years back. It's a fantastic and versatile dance album with a bit of something for anyone who wishes to explore some of what people commonly dub "future electronica." Maybe Dave's third Sessions attempt was just a beta release, but if these mixes are the finished product, then I can't help myself - I am completely sold. A rock-solid 4.5/5 stars for this one.
It's a serious testament that the first Seaman solo Sessions release is the best one to date.
Welcome back, Dave.