Dr. Olive

First Dee-Jay on the Moon

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Most ambient techno DJs are fairly interchangeable, but when an artist name-checks Ennio Morricone, Syd Barrett, Philip K. Dick, the B-52s, Kraftwerk, Patrick McGoohan, and "Roger Waters 'til '79" in the thank-yous of his first album, it's clear that he's not just another Paul Oakenfold wanna-be. Paris-born, Brussels-based DJ Doctor Olive has hints of all of the above plus more on his full-length debut; First Dee-Jay on the Moon is a winning combination of ambient techno and '70s-style space rock. Half samples and half live instruments, including fusiony flutes, Bitches Brew-style trumpets, and funky double bass, the arrangements on the first half of the album occasionally fall victim to cliché -- enough already with the samples of old black women singing gospel, people! -- but Doctor Olive has a sly wit, a surprisingly melodic sensibility, and enough ambition to pull off the 22-minute title suite, an effective blend of Ray Conniff, Hawkwind, and the Orb that shouldn't work at all but succeeds brilliantly, becoming a minor masterpiece of the form. First Dee-Jay on the Moon is one of those rare ambient techno albums that's of potential interest to people who don't normally listen to the style; fans of early Saint Etienne and A Saucerful of Secrets-era Pink Floyd in particular should check it out.

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