Dub Gabriel

Bass Jihad

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Electronica is a term that can, depending on the artist and the style, mean many different things. Electronica can be harsh, confrontational, abrasive, and in your face; that's true of techno, which often feels like electronica's answer to death metal, free jazz, metalcore, or gangsta rap. But electronica can also be lush, sleek, ethereal, and dreamy; plenty of chillout and downtempo recordings fit that description. Or it can be something as hypnotic as producer Dub Gabriel's work. Bass Jihad is an ironic title for this 2005 release, because Gabriel's material doesn't sound anything like a "jihad," which means "holy war" in Arabic. One could easily make a case that techno is an "electronic jihad," but Bass Jihad is far from techno. An ambient disc with a strong world music influence, Bass Jihad is all about hypnotizing the listener and putting him/her in a trancelike state. But Gabriel doesn't hypnotize in a totally predictable way; this isn't one of those electronica albums where you have pretty much heard it all after the first few minutes. Gabriel is fairly unpredictable, incorporating a variety of world music; you never know if he's going to incorporate Arabic, Indian, Asian, or African elements, which is part of the fun. Gabriel maintains a trance-inducing ambience from start to finish -- there is a certain continuity throughout the 68-minute CD -- but for Gabriel, creating and maintaining a certain type of atmosphere doesn't mean that every track sounds the same. None of the material on this album has a standard verse/chorus/verse/chorus format, and despite the use of some background vocals, Bass Jihad is essentially an instrumental album. It is also a successful demonstration of how electronica and world music can work together with enjoyable, intriguing results.

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