Mikkel Metal: Peaks and Troughs
Metal’s dub techno has long been an Echocord staple. Like several other producers of the genre, he’s decided it’s time to seek some reggae cred. A quarter of the tracks here feature vocals by Paul St. Hilaire. The others are reggae-influenced, though they remain strangely precise and electronic.
On “Jeman,” Metal’s production hangs back while St. Hilaire smoothly and rhythmically fills the track with his beautiful voice. After such a stunning intro, “Bodium” is a disappointment, with tepid beats and an under-developed melody. Some of Metal’s sound choices seem off. The reverbed chords in “Newson Five,” have a strange twang. The snare drum on “Frico” is drained of life, and the synths are pounded like a toy piano. St. Hilaire’s vocals on “Never Run Away” and “Visions of Life” seem rather disjointed as well.
Thankfully, the deep bass on “Stephan” provides a welcoming embrace. “Lumever” plays with surface noise. “Get Over” is a much better showcase for St. Hilaire’s talent, with him murmuring, “You can never run away,” over creepy electronic textures. The title track is also nice and atmospheric.
I have mixed feelings about this release. I’m glad Metal is expanding his style, but I feel that his production, while slick, should be more soulful. There aren’t enough analogue sounds or distinctive melodies to make this into a classic.