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  Ailanthus Altissima  
  302 Acid  
  Hackshop Records  
Release Date:
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Ailanthus Altissima is the debut EP from a Washington DC based band. The whole EP is just over 15 minutes long, but is really interesting stuff. 302 Acid are, well, they are a live drum-n-bass ensemble. They sound almost jazzy and almost electronic at the same time, which is actually pretty cool combination.

302 Acid construct their music out of drums played fast and furious and echoed heavily, bass that is distorted and loud and provides the backbone of the songs, and atmospheric keyboard noises. The keyboards are provided by Gel-sol, whose solo, Orb-influenced electronica album i reviewed here a while back. In fact, it was through him that i first heard this EP. There are five songs on Ailanthus Altissima, so let's look at each briefly.

The EP starts out with Transmission: Fire Dub, a song built out of loping bass riffage and funky clanging drums. The bass riff is really nice, and every thing seems vaguely "echoy". It's a nicely done dub tune, if somewhat typical for the dub genre. The almost Asian sounding drums (vaguely like a gamelan) add a nice touch.

The second song is Sevens and is built out of sleigh bells and a crunchy distorted bass riff. This whole song actually sounds kind of like a slowed down version of the Roni Size drum n bass classic Watching Windows. Very nice.

The drumbeat and the bass are a little more frenetic in Push Button for Blind Wail. There is a keyboard drone here that chimes very nicely, and in the middle there is a simply beautiful bass line that repeats for a minute. This song is appallingly lovely, and is the real stand out of the EP.

The keys take a dominant position for the next track, Pigsinspace. The bass is subtler here and is overshadowed by the keyboards, which soar past you like, well, a journey through space. I am slightly disappointed though: with that title, i wanted a few Muppet samples. Oh well.

Finally, 302 Acid wrap things up with Sixmilcop Dub. The drums here are extremely echoed, the keys are doing strange electronica things -- little bloops and bleeps -- while the bass is a slow slippery sound in the background. This song sounds almost Orb-y and is pretty nice.

Now, i downloaded the EP thanks to Mr. Gel-Sol, but, if you actually buy the CD, there is a video on it in addition to the 15 minutes worth of music. I can't vouch for the video, unfortunately, but the music is really cool frenetic dub. If you like dub, and i know you do, then this is a fine purchase. Echo and reverb will positively ooze from your speakers as you listen to Ailanthus Altissima.

Related Links: -- the band's website, complete with some MP3 sample tracks


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