Paradox

The Musician As Outsider Reinforcement

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Over a year in the making, Dev Pandya delivered his much-anticipated album concept for 4hero's imprint in the fall of 2000. Unlike the synth-stewn Alaska pseudonym -- under which he made his full-length debut, Virtual Virtuosos, for Vibez earlier the same year -- Paradox represents the purist side of his recording nature. With the all-important rhythmic elements of drum'n'bass often finding themselves compromised by the more conventional, club-rocking low end, Pandya uses bass to reinforce as opposed to driving the percussion -- turning Reinforced's rave-fascinated "second wave" concept on its head with a volley of militant beats. Raging breaks are the key, programmed to the nth degree so as to sound as authentic as any of the classic '70s beats as is possible without physically replaying them. The well-worn "Amen," "Apache," and "Funky Drummer," which make up the holy trinity of jungle percussion, are left well alone in favor of a dig through dusty break crates, which results in plenty of groan-punctuated funk. The Jimmy Castor-referencing "Drum and Chase" proves a highlight, its rattling mid-sections and breakdowns quite unlike anything else, while the shards of melodic elements break through where they can before being dissolved with a seething hint of bass.