John B.

Brainstorm

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One of drum'n'bass' greatest attributes has always been the way it so easily melds with any other genre of music. It has also been the cause of some of the music's biggest tragedies. John B's fusion of d'n'b with synth pop is, as you might guess, the latter. Of course, it was only a matter of time before this pairing would happen given the severe '80s fixation that has engulfed electronic music over the past two years -- all of which makes Brainstorm worse than just a bad idea. It's an obvious one, as well. John Beven sings the vocodered words "1980s electronic," for cripes sake. It didn't have to be this way. His new wave vocal on the "Save Me" cohort, "Exile," could have just been the quirky moment in a set of raucous jungle, and "Celebrity" could have been that wacky jungle song in any one of a million electroclash compilations. But when strung all together for an entire mix CD, with the majority of tracks assembled specifically for the project by John B, its all just too much musical junk food. Clearly searching for a way out of the drum'n'bass ghetto, John B has chosen the wrong path. This sort of trend-hopping never leads to much good, although he no doubt thought it was a brainstorm (pun intended) when laying down all these fun analog synth melodies.

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