Review Summary: A progressive French Dub record. High Tone is not ready to stop!High Tone
is a band formed in 1997 in the city of Lyon in France. They are known for their dub sound and their weird way of recording. They all gather in their studio and play all day while being recorded by a minidisc. They then select the good moments they had and see what they can do with that. Since the beginning of their musical adventure, High Tone
have released a total of seven studio records, their latest being Ekphrön. The first five Cds were a mix between traditional reggae dub and their latest two records have been somewhat completely different. Outback, released in 2010 introduced a new sound, including dubstep and more abstract hip-hop in their music. Ekphrön on the other hand is another U-turn, with a progressive sound.
The record starts on a very relaxing sound, “basis”, with a rhythm made of drops of water and backed by a piano and violin from Vincent Segal
. This atmospheric sound will be pursued on the following track “All Expectations” that will build into what sounds like a mix of abstract hip-hop and electronic beat. This calm and relaxing start will come to an end with the third song “Waqham Saba” that will mix traditional music (oud, oriental luth) with this fat dub beat High Tone
is known for. This just a preview to what's coming for you. Until The Last Drop sees High Tone
mixing their trademark sound with the voice of Paris artist Shanti D
“Please leave this World as you found it and if you can/ later will be better/ Don't squeeze it like an orange, like an orange until the last drop”.
His voice fits perfectly in the song and stops on this awesome Dub break that turns this song into this energetic avalanche of bass. Electronically wise, this album reaches his peak on the next song “Raag Step”, with this omnipresent Dubstep beat, followed by the mix of traditional sounds and voice. The highest moment of this song is around two minutes when the band produces the only skank sound of this album and then elevates this song before breaking it back to this traditional sound. The record will not come close to another high moments as this one. In fact, the following two songs are rather mediocre.
“72' Turned Off” and “Old Mind” sees the band trying to go back to an atmospheric sound which doesn't work as it did in the beginning, lacking in relaxing sound. “Old Mind” is actually an abstract Hip-Hop song, with the voice of Oddateee
. It will remind you of his featuring on Out Back, the previous record.
“I'm left in my old mind”
The end of the album is actually exactly this: a look into their previous sounds. It won't be the exact sound you've heard in their early records, but it will mix their new Dubstep influence with their older sound. “A Fistful Of Yen” sees the band alternating between dirty dubstep beats and a very calm synthesizer sound. “Super Kat” on the other hand is a six minutes long progressive dub song, with both their new and old influences
This last song actually sums up pretty well what High Tone
wanted to achieve with this record: a progressive sound that doesn't stay in his comfort zone. Many of their new fans they got with their previous record will be disappointed by this one, the band took another u-turn and left this dancing dubstep sound. Is it bad? I don't think so, it proves that this band still has a lot of creativity and isn't going to be a caricature of themselves like some other dub bands are right now.