Echo Warrior

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Blend is the pseudonym of Greek electronica artist George Mandas, who was introduced to fans of dub-wise downtempo dance music with a showcase track and a remix on Shadow's Dub Life compilation. His debut full-length is just what you'd hope for and expect based on the previous evidence: lots of dark, thick downtempo grooves rife with jazzy loops, slowly propulsive beats, and creative sampling, all of it spiced up with touches of dub technique and the occasional bracing drum'n'bass breakbeat. Things start out slow and trippy with downtempo excursions like "Desert Inn" and the sludgy "Chips and Rice," but on "Sunset Cream" Mandas kicks things up a notch or ten with a frenetic jungle beat before dropping into a darker, creepier mode on "Bleep, Human, Bleep." Things veer back and forth between those settings a couple more times before the proceedings wind down; the overall result is a fascinating and energizing magic-carpet ride of beats and moods.

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