I got an amazing album review in my inbox today. It seriously moved me. So excited! Thanks so much to my friends and fans. Without you guys, there wouldn't be an album to review at all.
Artist name: Busby
Album Title: Astronasty
Review by Jason Randall Smith
Virginia-based producer David John Busby has dabbled in various subgenres of electronic music. His debut album, Slime Man, ran the gamut from trip-hop and house to drum and bass. Inspired by his love for science, Astronasty is his follow-up release with progressive trance and hip-hop infused electronic styles. Trance and hip-hop are seldom heard at the same parties, let alone on the same album, but Busby has a way of switching back and forth between the two that makes sense. It never feels forced, nor does it feel like diversity just for the sake of it. There’s a natural balance between these different styles that reveals itself within the sequencing of this album.
After the Stephen Hawking-styled voice box intro of “Astronasty pt. 1,” the hip-hop beats come storming in with “Slime Passage.” The bass line is just plain ferocious, threatening to split subwoofers in half while the drum programming invokes head banging to the point of whiplash. This is directly followed by the high-energy dance cut “Another Timeline.” Although progressive trance has often proven to be a rhythmic contradiction in terms over the years, Busby is able to squeeze the best qualities out of this subgenre, even with vocals immersed in Auto-Tune. In fact, the effect enhances the aural quality of the vocals on “Another Timeline” rather than cover up singing imperfections.
This song structure is revisited and improved upon on “Into A Sun.” Busby’s take on vocally-driven progressive trance brings the work of Paul van Dyk or DJ Tïesto to mind, but executed with more conviction and precision. Rebecca Reinhardt’s vocal performance is draped in Auto-Tune as well, but is by no means constrained by it. She is able to convey her emotions with stunning clarity, especially on the phrasing during the chorus. It’s hard not to emphasize with her as she sings the following lyrics: “Maybe it’s in the way that you’re thinking about me that makes you feel the way you feel / Maybe it’s in my [brain] when I visualize you that makes you seem so unreal.”
One of the strongest tracks on the album just happens to be a cover of a Presets tune, “Talk Like That.” Busby breaks out the electro for this one, crafting a dirty and distorted bass line that works its way throughout the song. Light percussion accents pop up on either side of the bass line along with the strategically placed background utterances of “uh-oh.” Vocally aggressive in delivery, there is something delightfully sleazy about the opening line: “My, how you’ve grown! I think I’ll call you on the telephone and tell you all the things that I’ve been missing.” Prior to this and musically on the other side of the fence is “Lung Cancer,” perhaps the most surprising and bittersweet tune on Astronasty. A series of nervous buzzes and glitches comprise the song’s down tempo rhythm while a repeated cough serves as a reminder of life’s fragility. A looped guitar strum plays against the cough, perhaps a sign of hope in the face of life-changing news.
The album comes full circle on “Astronasty pt. 2” as the voice box chatter from part one is chopped up to fit the backing beat with some humorous results (“All the ladies, come on make some noise. Stephen Hawking is my homeboy.”). At a running time of only 36 minutes, Astronasty is a brisk trip through Busby’s sound that confirms his abilities as a producer and demonstrates his knack for creating both infectious pop songs and hard-edged dance music. Anyone that can make progressive trance and hip-hop instrumentals sit side by side on the same album without a hint of irony is deserving of worldwide recognition on some level.
Review by Jason Randall Smith, ReviewYou
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
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