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April 24, 2009


Local hero and Border Community favourite, Dextro, is digitally set to release his new album, Winded, on June 1st(although hard copies are now available-link at the end of the review). Having been sent a copy by the man himself it was only right that I give it a quick review.

As the weather has been fantastic lately, especially here in ‘sunny’ Dundee, I’ve been on a mission to find the right music to soundtrack my Spring follies, whether it be studying or just mincing about the flat, and Dextro’s latest effort might not only be in serious rotation for Spring, but will most likely be a staple part of my summer music diet.

The opening track, Closer, sets the tone for the album, starting off with a beatless soundscape made up of various synth sounds and a distant electric guitar riff, which then descends into a lovely piano melody, before crisp drums kick in giving the track a whole new dimension. A promising start.

The 2nd track Pacifist is a more serious affair which is again dominated by a piano loop that is not a million miles off the Halloween theme, but fortunately for us, it’s not as sinister and it’s highly infectious. Dextro’s use of what sounds like a real drum kit here is a welcome change to the usual blips and bleeps that you find with most electronic producers.

The track that is probably my favorite off the album, Momentary, is a feel-good, happy affair with lovely vocals complimenting an upbeat guitar melody. If Fourtet necked 4 prozac and went to the studio, this is what he would have made. Lovely.

The Unknown is ambient, with a lovely haunting guitar dominating the main body, with water running in the very distant background of the tune, which works extremely well with the pads that loop and layer the track. The ethereal vocals sift in and out of the track sporadically which only cements the floaty, relaxing qualities this album has shown thus far.

Other notable mentions include Sanna, which the intro and the drums reminded me of this (not a massive Moby fan but I’m a Bourne addict), but once in full flow the track is completely different with a very odd-sounding instrument, the name of which I can’t put my finger on for the life of me, cascading over it as the guitar continues to strum in the background, and Pillar; it immediately made me think of this classic track by Orbital (although Pillar is more downbeat). Layers of guitar, drums, piano, street noises, vocals and even a bird chirping make up this gentle but appealing track.

This album offers a different take on IDM (if you permit me to use such a term), with less electronic instruments in favour of real instruments, which is a welcome change. If you’re looking for a top summer album, then Winded must be in with a shout. Fans of Fourtet, Boards of Canada or Mogwai – go get.

Buy the album HERE. And below is the first track I ever heard from Dextro, with the MFA on hand to give the original a meatier finish.

Dextro has just confirmed a show in London with Two Fingers (Amon Tobin, Sway and more) on May 13th at the Scala.

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