A la Magnetica [Recordings of Substance]

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Magnetic is a guy named David Harrow who recorded this entire album on an Apple G3 Powerbook using Cubase 4 software. Since he explains that right on the back cover (and thus you read that information before you hear the music), it's hard to know for sure whether the drum'n'bass compositions that make up the program really do sound a bit antiseptic, or whether that's just an artificial perception that comes from knowing too much about how the music was created. In any case, if you can get past the chilliness inherent in any music created out of nothing but silicon, there's lots to like here -- the jumpy, slightly foreboding "W99," the almost-analog feel of the obbligato on "Harsh Life," the heavily flanged percussion sound on "Cheap Detective." But it's hard to avoid the feeling that this album would have been improved a bit by the inclusion of a few elements from the real world -- a vocal sample, say, or a drum loop.

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