Meat Beat Manifesto

Answers Come in Dreams

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Jack Dangers, who has recorded alone or with co-conspirators since 1987 under the name Meat Beat Manifesto, has never been willing to confine himself stylistically -- with the result that Meat Beat Manifesto albums have gone in any number of musical directions including industrial, dub, hip-hop, and jungle. On Answers Come in Dreams you'll hear all of those elements at one point or another, but here the emphasis is on a reverberantly grim and bottomlessly dark dubstep groove. Dangers frankly does not sound very happy on this album, but the music is consistently spectacular, from the bat-cave one-drop ambience of "Luminol" to the dubwise techno burble of "Mnemonic" and the creepy funk of "Please" and the bat-cave reprise of "Chimie du Son," which suddenly blossoms into subtly frenetic jungle breakbeats to end the program. "Let Me Set" is built on a deeply eerie sort of zombie-reggae groove -- call it "undeadstep," maybe -- and "Waterphone" starts out like a slog through a dark swamp before suddenly (after six minutes) slipping into a funk groove. When he records with Mike Powell and Ben Stokes under the name Tino, Jack Dangers shows a more happy-go-lucky side, but none of that is in evidence here -- though the bongos on "Let Me Set" do quietly recall a happier time. Everything else, for all its frequent grooviness and serious rhythmic virtuosity, is grim and dark, though it's worth noting that Jack Dangers' grim darkness is more listenable than many lesser producers' joyful celebrations. Fans of Meat Beat Manifesto will want this album without question, but newcomers may want to start with some of his earlier work.

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