Review Summary: A dubstep puree - delicious but homogeneous.
This review will be short. It’s not because I’ve become a lazy bum over the course of the past week or so, and it’s not because I can’t think of some sort of bulls**t intro to lead into the meat of the review. It’s because there’s honestly not all that much to say about Ganja White Night’s Mystic Herbalist. It’s a dubstep album through and through, and while I can’t fault Ganja White Night for utilizing a more traditional format on the album there’s just not all that much here that’s different from the norm. As much as some people might have you believe that the Belgian duo is pushing boundaries by virtue of their song lengths, which often surpass seven minutes in a dubstep world that typically shies away from anything more than six, or that the production quality is top notch (which it is - I can’t deny well-made dubstep when I hear it), Ganja White Night is being excessively safe here. Sure, taken individually the songs are good. You can basically take any song here (especially the fantastic “Bubblegum,” “Misty,” and “Euforia”) and slap it onto a single or EP release, and it would fare very well. However, over the course of close to an hour the similar-sounding nature of the full-length tends to drag. The “blop” sounds and wobbles every offbeat, the clinking piano lines, and the tribal drums are nice individually, but when they appear on every damn song their effect is less pleasing.
The closest comparison point I can think of for Mystic Herbalist is Enei’s Machines: a talented and technically sound producer (in the case of the former, two of them) makes a full-length album that’s not quite innovative or varied enough to pass the threshold that separates good from great. Even the more uncommon elements of the album aren’t enough to warrant the seal of originality: the eastern-tinged sounds sprinkled into “Euforia” and “Black Widow” sound suspiciously similar to those used by big-shots like Skream and Coki, the resounding clap/snare on “Endless Sky” is a genre staple which is employed time and time again, and the watery pads and nasally synth leads in “Blue Velvet” would be right at home on The Others’ latest album. But that’s the story with Mystic Herbalist when all is said and done: as much as I would absolutely love to adore the album, it’s painfully homogeneous. It’s dubstep done right, but unfortunately ten songs of dubstep done right in exactly the same way don’t work as well as they could.
"It’s not because I’ve become a lazy bum over the course of the past week or so, it’s not because I can’t think of some sort of bulls**t intro to lead into the meat of the review, it’s because there’s honestly not all that much to say about Ganja White Night’s Mystic Herbalist."
This is a run-on, though! Change dat punctuation halfway through and you'll be set =]
At first I was concerned that you weren't going to describe the music's sound enough, but the second paragraph changes that.
Very nice work, man, and I'm thrilled to have you as part of the contributor team :D
first two sentences didn't seem ness but overall good write up. I heard 4 tracks off this. While each track sounds solid and enjoyable they sometimes became samey which makes it hard to so sit through.
Album is the cat's pajamas, it was such a breath of fresh air for me since everyone seems to have been either going as deep and dark as possible or as heavy and aggressive with dubstep in the last few years. No one does that big meaty wobble that made shit like Cockney Thug so irresistibly infectious, which this entire thing is for me. Black Widow is incredible, and that Coki "Tortured" synth line on there is too cool.
This is a good review though, and grats on contrib. I might argue you're analyzing this for the same merits that you would a Coki/Skream release when maybe you shouldn't be. Not in the review specifically, but just in your enjoyment of the album in general. I almost reviewed this awhile back because I was really diggin it, might have to put a counter up if I get time this week.
Yeah, but things can run too long and still be good. To put things into some perspective, I've been listening to Horsepower Productions' In Fine Style and I'm blown away (granted I gave it a 4, but whatever) by the amount of both intricacy and variety on the album. Sure, there are absolutely flaws that hold it back, but it doesn't "run too long" even given the fact that its runtime rivals this. I guess here my main issue is the kick-wub-snare-wub almost rinse-and-repeat pattern that goes on for more than half the songs here, and if Ganja went a little darker or heavier on a few songs instead of staying in the middle for the entire album (which, granted, isn't a bad sound at all) it would be at least a 3.5-4 for me.
I guess I like the traditional approach, and as far as that goes this is excellent. I just think 10 songs of traditional, play-by-the-rules dubstep can make a good album but not a great one. And you should listen to HP, it's considered one of the defining albums of the genre. Came out in 2003 I think and Horsepower Productions either founded Tempa or has some major role in the label, so it's worthwhile
I don't think you can necessarily say it's impossible to play by the rules since they've been broken - they still exist, it's just no longer necessary to go by them. In my opinion this is pretty much straight by-the-book, which isn't necessarily bad but makes for an almost (but not quite) boring listen. Like, the Skreamizm series is by-the-book done right, and it shows what typical almost-heavier dubstep can mean. This isn't as good as most of those Skreamizm volumes IMO.