Channel X

X Files

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On Channel X's debut release, a combination of new tracks and some previously released singles and remixes, the perhaps all too obviously named X Files shows the duo happily inhabiting the realm between straight-up instrumental house formalism and an understated but often very effective ear for odd twists and additions to their arrangements to make everything just a little off-kilter. The bubbling lope of "Against the Wall," which starts the collection after a brief introductory piece, is a case in point -- it's actually the elements from that introduction, echoing murmurs and what could be distant clatters in a factory or a vast cavern, that work to expand the sound dramatically. Such an approach is hardly new, either -- if anything it's now part of what dubstep's seen to be in its own amorphous fashion -- but Channel X's ear for making the combination consistently enjoyable is the key throughout X Files, a seamless mix between tracks that let the beats occasionally glitch out or otherwise vary while concentrating on everything else for the full impact. Some tracks like "Circus Bizarre" bury the melancholy deep for a more playful romp, while "Freakshow"'s swirling introduction, sounding like sparkling glass reassembling itself, adds a ballroom glamour to the song -- the addition of a disco whistle to "Mosquito" is its own inspired touch in turn. Their remix of Niko Schwind's "Fly" fits in nicely with their originals, if a touch lighter in feel then still of a piece with their overall approach.

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