Review Summary: The soundtrack to your never ending weekend
It’s always a challenge in the electronic world to separate oneself from the pack. What with over exposure being thrown over the undeserving while the true stalwarts go largely unnoticed in the public eye, emerging out of the unknown into the realms of recognition has become a rather large problem as of late. With a fair amount of over saturation coming into play in recent years, sifting through the ever growing list of names has become something of a tiring commitment. That isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy the search for new blood, for I do genuinely enjoy climbing that mountain of artists in hopes of stumbling over something refreshing and wholly original. But therein lies the problem; with all the sub genres on offer gaining more attention than ever before, new artists have emerged out of the woodwork from all angles, all of them attempting to lay down their claim for a chance in the spotlight. And as a result, originality has become a much stronger issue; everything now is just a sample, a borrowed idea, a stolen influence, or just a direct carbon copy from the glories of yesteryear. In the process of chasing its own tail the genre as a whole has dug itself into a creative rut.
Well thank god for Noisia.
The Dutch trio are the latest group to stick their heads up above ground level with hopes of sinking into the consciousness of the mainstream. And there’s no real surprise to see why they wouldn’t be hoping for the best; their entry in the Fabriclive
series (#40 in the ongoing series) was one of the more suffocating and unrelenting additions to the label’s flagship collection. And while it may have ruffled a few feathers, it also moved more than a few feet and pushed quite a number of pulses to register in the danger zones. Add kudos from everyone’s favorite and diminutive 90’s icon Moby, high profile remixes for such artists as The Prodigy and Phace, and not forgetting a plethora of singles and compilations and it seems as if Noisia might actually be poised on the brink of crossover success. All they really need now is a worthy debut album to add to their ever growing catalogue; so it’s probably a good thing that Split The Atom
delivers in spades.
Beginning with 1st single ‘Machine Gun’, Noisia waste no time in staking their claim as growling and venomous synths spew forth over a pounding and crushing percussion line. Establishing peaks and rushes that continue throughout the course of the album, the boys dowse the whole cut in dirty reverb that literally soaks through the speakers. And just as the breaks inspired climax fades to a close the boys hit a straight 180 with ‘My World’, an old skool inspired drum and bass cut to rival the peaks of Andy C and co’s triumphs . Compared to the explosive nature of ‘Machine Gun’ it seems somewhat subdued, and even dated in some parts. But that’s the big catch here; Noisia have long straddled the line dividing all the rules and unnecessary genre names with an almost reckless abandonment, and it’s here on Split The Atom
that they have finally been given the chance to meld all of their loves and influences into one big collision of sonic overload.
Every possible style gets a look in here, be it the title track’s “house on steroids” approach, or Amon Tobin’s schizophrenic talents being wrapped over a frenzied and claustrophobic beat in “Sunhammer”. Then there’s the jaw dropping breaks induced madness of ‘Alpha Centauri’, with its staggered drops and lines; the dirty funk styling’s of ‘Red Heat’, or the atmospheric ‘Thursday’, with its insistent and earnest beat; there is literally something on offer for even the casual connoisseur. Even grime gets a nod, with the UK’s Foreign Beggars dropping in for a visit on both ‘Shellshock’ and ‘Soul Purge’, two tracks that contain more than a few nods to the Breakbeat Kaos style of d’n’b. Even the minute length interludes command attention, with the majority of them stripping down electronic music to its bare elements of bass and percussion, while the remainder call to mind Burial-esque sections of murky underworlds and smoke filled rooms set to the soundtrack of ambience vs. aural intrusion.
Split The Atom
is big, loud and overly boisterous in both its approach and delivery. And even though it weighs in at a total of 19 songs, the album boasts enough variety, changes in pace and a unique approach to a wide variety of genres to keep the group’s identity firmly intact. While a handful of the tracks have appeared over the last year in various comps and singles the album flows beautifully, despite appearing as just a compilation of Noisia’s latest and greatest. A true hurricane of an album, Split The Atom
is poised to destroy the lives of clubbers worldwide and invade the senses of anyone brave enough to invest ample time in it. Noisia are set to go supernova.