Mephisto Odyssey

The Deep Red Connection

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

Production units like Mephisto Odyssey get a lot of work as remixers but come up against a challenge when they try to make their own records because what they do, constructing interesting rhythm tracks out of drums, percussion, and synthesizer patterns, seems like only part of what it takes to make music. Since they are not much interested in melody, lyrics, and singing, they tend to import those elements. That's the case here, with raps, toasting, and vocals by guest performers added to eight of the 13 tracks. While the guests add variety, providing the excuse, for example, to slow down the pace to a reggae dub style in "Soundman Connection," featuring Mad Lion, for the most part the vocals seem like vestigial elements, especially because Mephisto Odyssey is such an inventive musical collective. The most interesting and compelling tracks are instrumentals like "Sexy Dancer" and the aptly named "Red Drums" that expose the group's ability to assemble inventive rhythm patterns. Unlike many of their peers, they do not feel required to stuff the sound picture, and they are, in fact, at their best when they deconstruct the overall sound into its elements without ever losing the beat. The only vocal track that matches the background is "Wish," featuring Paula Frazer, who adds a wistful touch to Mephisto Odyssey's music. Next time, maybe they should dispense with the guest stars.

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