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Sweep Review

by Tim DiGravina

Sweep is a two-headed beast, and a fine beast at that. On his second full-length release, Vapourspace (aka Mark Gage) alternates haphazardly but compellingly between trippy ambient techno and a noisy, bass-heavy sonic stew that's laced with acid house effects. One would imagine these two genres clashing together harshly, but because Gage is such a fine craftsman and such a solid producer, the styles melt together seamlessly. Slow rolling songs like "Teleport," "Breathe," "Worm," and "Sleep" work like chillout moments between the cacophonous skittering notes and punchy bass of the remaining tracks. These quieter tracks are minor tone poems that build and release tension as dictated by the songs they bookend. The album's other six songs increase the pace considerably, adding wobbly thundering bass, electro handclaps, and icy synth washes. Here Gage gets his groove thing on, skirting weird Aphex Twin territory on the title track, blending a lightning fast dancebeat with ambient tones reminiscent of Vangelis' Blade Runner score on "Gridlock," and funking it up Gary Moscheles-style on the journey-through-the-Milky-Way that is "Rays." Gage hits zero sour notes on the album and always keeps his head above the water while juggling complex, varied electronic styles, marking Sweep as one of the solidest techno albums of the late '90s.

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