Timo Maas

Loud

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Following a breakout 2000 (the British Top Ten remix of "Dooms Night") and a relatively quiet 2001 (just one Top 40 entry), Timo Maas saluted 2002 with his first production album, Loud. Purists may sniff at his associations with the trance scene, but Maas has great production sense and a refreshing clean aesthetic (partial credit goes to co-producer Martin Buttrich), even though he often uses effects that sound like castoffs from '80s video games. Listeners keeping an ear out for the warped basslines and funk slide of "Dooms Night" will find it in effect on a few tracks; "Shifter" is the best, featuring glittering '80s synth and a superbly informed vocal by newcomer MC Chickaboo. Maas certainly doesn't rely on the sound, though (he certainly had every right), leading off with a track ("Help Me") that pits neo-soul vocalist Kelis against a '50s sci-fi soundtrack with theremin and horns. Nearly every time Maas unloads a tune that could become a monster on trance dancefloors after five or six minutes of caning, he quickly switches up the tempo, the bridge, even the song, playing effects off of each other like the masters (Orbital). His few attempts at writing pop vocals ("O.C.B.," the single "Ubik") don't compare favorably to his other productions, but Maas never stops trying to upset the conventions of contemporary dance. With Loud, he's largely succeeded.

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