AUX 88


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Xeo-Genetic showcases AUX 88 mastermind Tom Hamilton's sincere attempt to channel the DJ-orientated sounds of electro into the conceptual confines of a full-length album. This is no easy task; the quick tempos, limited palette, and syncopated rhythms of Hamilton's brand of electro don't make ideal listening music. Despite the challenge, Hamilton succeeds to a certain extent in his mission to seam together a total of 20 tracks. Songs such as "Play It Loud" and "Computer Speaks" represent the sort of energized ass shakers one would expect from any artist on the Detroit-based Direct Beat label. Their funky drum-machine rhythms, bleeping riffs, and Kraftwerk-like motifs define for many the ideal sound of electro. Of course, an entire album of dancefloor anthems would be little more than a DJ mix album similar to DJ Di'jital's Techno Bass 2: The Prototype Mix; instead, Hamilton inserts some down-tempo electro songs such as "I Need to Find Myself" and "Rise of the Phoenix" that craft moods more than they incite dancing. In addition, short sketches similar to those found on many rap albums appear every few songs. Looking at the array of different songs on the album, the dancefloor anthems such as "Play It Loud" stand out as the album's highlights. The down-tempo songs sound good and should hold the interest of anyone attracted to the electro side of techno. Unfortunately, the sketches detract from Xeo-Genetic's overall appeal; they may bring personality and a sense of motif to album, but they also sound silly at times. For example, "Hydro Spin" has a reporter going to visit a futuristic club to interview Hamilton, bringing a sense of lowbrow sci-fi kitsch to an otherwise album of serious music. In sum, Xeo-Genetic attempts what few have accomplished by constructing a conceptual electro album that is ultimately hampered by the often homogeneous sounds of Hamilton's music and a few embarrassing non-musical moments.

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