Review Summary: wow.
I read Homer's Odyssey
once. It was about a man, Odysseus, on a journey back to his homeland. On the way he accomplished many great things: killing a cyclops, visiting the underworld and braving the Sirens; just to name a few. These tales are timeless; forever immortalised in constant re-tellings and reinterpretations. What makes the Odyssey
a classic, however, is the fact that despite these adventures being somewhat disconnected and varied, there's a constant progression of Odysseus' character. So the story meanders around from place to place, but maintains it's overall image as a strong, coherent narrative. At just shy of 80 minutes and with no song titles or pauses, this is exactly where we find ourselves with Beefcake's 2001 release, Drei
Existing as an active duo during the turn of the millennium, when the movement most often titled "Intelligent Dance Music" was at the height of its popularity, Beefcake found it hard to be heard above the noise of their more popular contemporaries. They didn't exactly make it easy for themselves: their 3-minute (exactly!) segment format left it hard to distinguish where a particular part begins or ends, there's also no name with which to reference favourite parts and by extension no singles to flaunt. In any case, Drei
's lack of success - and the imminent disintegration of the duo - remains a tragedy.
See, unlike most one track ambient-like LP's, Drei
refuses to remain static: it shifts from ambient to acid, from techno to classical. Effortlessly shrugging off old tempo's, grabbing new styles, influences and soundbites on the go - refusing to relax into a default beat. Always managing to surprise. So instead of being length because it's been dragged out, Drei
is long because it's literally bursting with so many ideas that compressing the album would ruin them. Beefcake linger in parts though, developing a style or idea to form a more structured, memorable segment to the point it's easy to separate into a stand-alone track. However, like the Odyssey
, these moments are only enhanced and reinforced by the overall progression of the album as a whole.
For an album as fluid and ever-changing as Drei
, it's impossible to go into specifics. On top of offering up beautifully unique segments, it collates influences from seemingly every important figure in 90's electronic music. What we're left with is an all engrossing epic; a tour of all that is good in electronic music, and the epitome of all that is outstanding.