Reso
Tangram


4.5
superb

Review

by Will Robinson STAFF
November 5th, 2012 | 61 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Reso lets his sound run free and succeeds wherever it goes.

Today's brostep controversy has raged for a few years now, and hasn't shown any sign of letting up. There's an incredible polarization in the electronic scene between the mid-range crowd and the low-end crowd, and neither side seems to care particularly for the other. Almost all brostep artists have come under fire as "unskilled," "obnoxious," "not subtle," and "exactly what's wrong with dubstep today." With that being said, however, one of the few producers who's managed to evade much of the criticism other big names receive on a daily basis is Reso. It's somewhat puzzling that people can fawn over him and not be dismissed as "scene kids," while most of his dubstep does in fact have a certain focus on mid-range sawtooth wobbles. Maybe he's managed to avoid controversy because he's been producing that style of dubstep since he first made it big, back when a certain Sonny Moore was still lead singer of post-hardcore band From First To Last. Maybe it's because he doesn't limit himself to abrasive synth leads, as he's been known to delve into other tempos and styles of electronic music rather than stick with a standard 140 BPM tune. And maybe it's because the "real dubstep" fans recognize (to a certain extent) Reso's talents: his production is always graced with complex beats, an interesting low end, and other elements normally not found in stereotypical brostep.

On his new album, Tangram, it's clear that Reso is trying to separate himself from the phenomenon that has taken the world by storm as of late. What's really nice to hear, then, is that he's done just that on the LP. The album is just varied enough to still feel like it's cohesive, mixing in his standard 140 BPM fare with more chilled out electronic music at varying tempos, songs that showcase his immense skill with electronic drums, and even material that interweaves various prog elements with more familiar electronic styles. That's not to say his "standard 140 BPM fare" isn't good, though. Opener "Exoframe" sees Reso's take on a form of dubstep that's almost industrial, with brutal, lower-mid-range synths carefully restrained over a more typical broken 140 beat that eventually turns into a more complex bass-snare combination. The arpeggio-based 1.5-minute lead-in to the main section does a great job setting up the wobbles that Reso is known for, and he keeps the piece intense through the entire seven-minute run time. "Half Life" succeeds in a similar fashion, with ominous drums guiding the listener through a futuristic opening segment until the lower wobbles drop in along with a ticking beat and a heavily pulsating bassline.

Most of the album isn't typical Reso dubstep, though. "Axion" is the first track that jolts the listener out of the comfort of a "normal" half-time beat, with its almost IDM-like modern jazz drums that justifiably draw the main focus of the song. Eerie synths and wobbles fade in and out behind jarring kicks, snare hits and cymbal taps, and the complex, subtle beat demonstrates Reso's skill outside of a more conventional boom-clap rhythm. "Nempo" is similar, using somewhat unconventional breaks and a high piano line to accentuate the gritty wobbles that come in with surprisingly little fanfare. The last minute or two of the song sees more ambient synth chords lead into the other prevalent non-dubstep style on Tangram - a downtempo, less aggressive sound that displays Reso's variety exceptionally well. The song that "Nempo" fades into, "Backwards Glance," has an almost ambient vibe about it. A light, percussive synth lead carefully makes its way through a casually clicking beat, and the repeated four-note feel of that lead continues throughout the song over a background of faint, almost staticky chords. It's somewhat unexpected given the nature of Reso's music, but it ends up succeeding greatly and providing enough of a fresh face to the release to keep the listener on his or her toes. "Virtua Rhythm" comes as close to prog as electronic music normally dares to go, with a nasally keyboard riff and a plucky baseline normally not found in the styles of music Reso dabbles in. Near the end of the album, "Check 1,2" throws one more curveball into the mix, with its faded beat, synths, and samples leading right into a glitch hop banger with Reso's trademark wobbles. It's got everything you'd expect from genre superstars like Opiuo and K+Lab, except with a spin that's distinctly Reso.

The best summary of the album as a whole is closing track "Tabris." The seven and a half minute piece synthesizes the rest of the album into one track, and the end result is one of the best 140 BPM songs of the year. With it, the minor failures of the album - a too-abrasive "Ishimura," a half-failed attempt at interesting downtempo with "Simple Pleasures" - fade away into insignificance. A tuneless introduction transitions directly into a prog-rock keyboard and almost guitar-like distortion that can only really be described as "epic," especially in conjunction with crashing drums that sound like they were pulled straight out of a classic Dream Theater song. A more subdued synth pattern in the middle of the piece that sounds like Reso revamping what worked in "Backwards Glance" leads into a fantastic keyboard solo that carries the listener through to the 1.5-minute closing section that utilizes frantic, frenetic futuristic and machinelike sounds that build until the piece suddenly transitions to clean electric guitar, chilled-out drums, and piano to quietly and anticlimactically finish off an album of such magnitude. It's a fitting end to Tangram, an album with no shortage of twists and turns. What's so incredibly impressive about the album, though, is not just the fact that it has so much variety in a choked and clogged electronic world, but also just how well Reso performs that variety. Although the album goes a lot of places in terms of its style, Reso is always at the top of his game. The "true dubstep" superfans who fill the air with scathing criticism for all things "brostep" won't have any dirt on Reso here - no matter whether wobbles are the best thing ever or everything wrong with electronic music today, it's evident that Tangram is a success.



Recent reviews by this author
Ariana Grande My EverythingRustie Green Language
The Bug Angels and DevilsVenetian Snares My Love Is A Bulldozer
Seven Lions Worlds ApartBig Freedia Just Be Free
user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Brostep
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2012


3452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Originally posted on www.muzikdizcovery.com, album streaming here: http://thefourohfive.com/news/article/reso-tangram-full-album-stream

Somewhere between a 4 and a 4.5 on this one, and decided to go higher rather than lower. Also this is my first overtly positive review so criticism is appreciated.

mindleviticus
November 5th 2012


8237 Comments


I remember Dev posted a link to this guys song Technetium and loved it. May check this out.

Digging: Cultes Des Ghoules - Henbane

MichaelSnoxall
November 5th 2012


12163 Comments


I remember Dev posted a link to this guys song Technetium and loved it. May check this out.

If you loved the song, why didn't you check it out straight away?

"YEAH, THIS SONG IS FUCKIN' AWESOME. DON'T WANT TO HEAR ANY MORE O' THAT."

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2012


6450 Comments


Good review. I don't particulary care for his music, but his beat production is indeed spot on.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2012


2714 Comments


Really good album, with a really good review to match.

Rev
November 5th 2012


9428 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Loving the video game/anime references in the track titles

DropdeadWHA
November 5th 2012


634 Comments


Good review, gonna check this out because of it.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2012


31213 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Biggest disappointment ever, but of course you'd love this

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2012


31213 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'll be honest though: reading this review makes it seem like we've been listening to different albums. Outside of a few tracks, this is pretty much just standard dubstep beats, rather than him making something different. Even the more chilled-out stuff is reminiscent of stuff he's done before

mindleviticus
November 5th 2012


8237 Comments


@snoxall because I checked out more of his stuff and it was good, but it had little to no replay value like most brostep. You're blown away the first play and then it kind of wears off. Technetium is the only song, for me, that has replay value.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2012


3452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dev I'm a little surprised you'd give it a 2.5 given that it feels like a more fleshed-out version of his Valken EP which you gave a 4 in a full review. But of course that's the beauty of a community-run site - I have one opinion, and back it up. You have another opinion, and (I assume) are going to back it up with another review. We're allowed to think differently, and I'm not going to write something just because someone else thinks it - I'm going to write what I think, hopefully unadulterated by other people's opinions.

As for the album itself, it just feels like a logical continuation of Reso's sound that worked well in the past and continues to feel fresh even now. I don't know who else thinks that, but after a bunch of listens to the entire thing this is what I think.

twlichty
November 5th 2012


3408 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

how this could be a 2.5 is beyond me

raoul95
November 5th 2012


1 Comments


Nothing on the album was particularly memorable to me, bar axion which I loved. Felt he could have been a lot more inventive and creative on this. Disappointed by the lack of any DnB track like syndicate or mindgames as well

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2012


3452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^haha

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2012


2714 Comments


passive aggression makes you cool

bloc
November 5th 2012


34872 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I can't believe how bad this is. Hard to believe this is the same guy who made War Machine...

WashboardSuds
November 5th 2012


5017 Comments


I heard a mix from this guy, it wasn't any of his own original work though

mindleviticus
November 5th 2012


8237 Comments


Title track is pree cool. I can dig it

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
November 5th 2012


3452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

...there is no title track haha

mindleviticus
November 5th 2012


8237 Comments


Shit. I mean Axion lol



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy