Magik & Mayhem

Way back at the beginning of July, I featured a group called Area 27 as part of my weekly Unearthing MySpace Gems feature. Well, being such nice people they sent me a copy of their album Magik & Mayhem – now it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out what happened next – yup, I listened to it and now I’m writing about it… just like that.

You can actually listen to some of the tracks from this album up on the Area 27 MySpace page, so make sure you check that out, but now for some words. The album kicks off with Black Sun, an anthem of a trip-hop track, if ever I heard one. Shalien’s smooth and soulful vocals over the chilled yet fiery musical accompaniment are a match made in heaven. As I listened to this track I could sense a nostalgic feeling of trip-hop from days gone by, presented in a timeless manner. I’ve said it before; of all the fashions and trends that change over time, good music is always the most stubborn of elements – flares and haircuts come and go, perhaps to return for mocking at a later date, but good music maintains respect always.

Area 27 – Black Sun
>> download <<
This download is a sample of the music only and must be deleted from your computer within 24 hours of downloading. This download link will expire on 6th September.

The next track is Dancing On The Moon, a dreamy track built upon catchy electronic samples and eerie vocals – it’s very catchy. Stereofab is a more gritty effort, dark beats and electric chaos, but alas this is merely a short bridging track to take us to Wild Card. This maintains the gritty feel of Stereofab, but introduces a driven vocal from Shalien, it’s like an electro folk rock track. Imagine a more in-your-face raw version of Morcheeba, add some attitude, then you might get close to Wild Card.

Intergalatic changes from your typical trip-hop sound, replaces the drums with those of an energetic rock track, but keeps the ethereal vocals as heard previously. It’s an interesting track, but a good move, breaks the album up nicely without disrupting the listening experience. Generally it’s just nice to hear some variance throughout the album – but as ever it is all about the balance and not crossing those fine lines – so far Area 27 have accomplished this. Driving With Future Self is another track combining the rock and electronica elements. It has a real powerful intro, layers of guitar, beats, and effects. Like atmospheric electro-rock, it’s a beautiful instrumental piece.

Then enter the downtempo trance’esque Sphinx Fever. This track has elements of Aphex Twin and watching the sunrise at Space in Ibiza – an alternative chilled dance creation. Human/Alien continues the chilled out angle presented by Sphinx Fever, but also sees the return of Shalien’s soothing vocals. A downtempo electronica track with husky, haunting, vocals and sporadic drum driven build ups. Say My Name has the unmistakable sounds of jungle rhythms, and by that I don’t mean lots of exotic trees and Tarzan, I mean jungle music – drum ‘n bass’ older brother. The thing I love about this track is that the jungle beat doesn’t consume the track. Often in jungle tracks it is the beat that holds the main emphasis, but the balance in Say My Name is impeccable – the addition of other electronica sounds and samples, and of course Shalien’s vocals – very impressive.

Area 27 – Say My Name
>> download <<
This download is a sample of the music only and must be deleted from your computer within 24 hours of downloading. This download link will expire on 6th September.

Circles is the penultimate track on the album. This goes back to the earlier rock sounds, and like a slice of lime in your Corona, this sits nicely after the last track. You could say this is energetic rock with electro tendencies, it’s certainly a catchy number. The last track is Somewhere Between, fantastically positioned as the outro track. It’s euphoric, cinematic, atmospheric, and inspiring – a plethora of aural experiences in one track. Nothing too heavy, yet at the same time more than enough. It is apparent that all the best albums seem to have their tracks in a pristine playing order – this trip-hop, downtempo, electronica, rock, album Magik & Mayhem fits right into that category.

As you may have read on the Area 27 MySpace page, Jamie Chez, whom played bass and guitar on Say My Name, sadly passed away during the making of this album. A portion of the money made from the sales of Magik & Mayhem is being donated to Jamie’s daughter Nova at www.novasfund.org – so all the more reason to purchase this wonderful album.

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  • http://eashfa.wordpress.com/ Linda

    Fabulous find, i remember them from your myspace gems and i actually did go to check out their page. “Black Sun” reminds me a bit of Portishead; nostalgia’s good.

  • http://eashfa.wordpress.com/ Linda

    Fabulous find, i remember them from your myspace gems and i actually did go to check out their page. “Black Sun” reminds me a bit of Portishead; nostalgia’s good.