Keywords: IDM, Techno, Breaks, Industrial, Acid
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
One of the late additions to the Noise-Joy label before it broke, this self-titled album from the mysterious Allneedrug really caught me by surprise at the time I received it, just for how cleanly produced and dancy it was with some really nice chill tracks thrown in as well… and very oldschool! As one equally mysterious reviewer on Discogs put it:
“I have no idea who this artist is but remember what old AFX and other Warp Records artists sounded like? Well this album is right up there. Great soft break beats mixed with superb keyboard strokes. This guy knows how to make music and it has a very nostalgic listen to it as well as I’m taken back to what good IDM and Acid use to sound like. Some tracks carry a light drone under the beats and bass and it’s great mood music to listen to at night. I wish this sucker was on LP!”
And that description pretty well fits my attitude toward this work, too. It’s another one of those albums I have frequently expressed as being one of my favourites from the N-J daze to others, so great to be able to release it back into the world since it really didn’t have a long time to exist and be heard at Noise-Joy before the cataclysm.
The first track is ‘i’mfine’. Breathy pads come in at the start closely followed by rhythmic stabs. There’s an oldschool IDM groove going, dropping off for a moment while the pads surge, then returning with a strange warping electro vibe. The track continues in this fashion, shifting perceptibly in places. Then some really spacy feels creep into our world taking hold of the senses while the intricate, tight drums move the legs of your brain on the dance floor of your mind. Loving the chord synths that arrive soon after. They are very nice, melodic, and fill up any of the dimensions of the track that might have felt peculiarly lacking beforehand.
‘j dr 7’ then smacks you in the head with it’s sharp breakbeats. Buzzing acid belches bubble up in these extremely tight sequences of sound. I like the xylophones a lot, like skeletons playing a ribcage with mallets. When the really nice, smooth leads come in, you’re hooked. That’s it. So pretty! So chill! There’s a darkness under the surface, threatening to overtake the melodic sequences at times but providing just enough tension to keep things moving.
The next track that comes in is ‘no CONVENTIONAL audio ERROR’, and here we are treated to a choir and then a very snappy electro groove. We soon hear the almost ambient arrival of a gritty bassline coming… the beats are subjected to some IDM-style tweaking and headphuckery. Meanwhile, the synths, atmospheres, etc. are very dreamy, just floating on…
… afterward is ‘Pink’, probably my favourite thing on the album. It’s worth the price of admission for this track alone, in my opinion, which is free, but that’s beside the point. Very lovely chill sound here, with ambient chords, beautiful tiny leads, wisps of feedback and a rolling bass punch that keeps it moving. Very 2AM kind of sound, like a late-night contemplation session, whether lounging at home in the dark or while walking the streets. The kicks get a little stompier later on and we get synth horn sections, and just so much great melodic structure and well composed sounds in the mix. When it fades out it almost sounds like it’s warping subtly, changing pitch, which is a nice touch!
‘Psyconoise’ is like downtempo IDM. The beats are skittish, the synths incorporated into the mix almost rhythmically. Then, it’s ACIIIIEED! The beats get more uptempo and an acid 303 bassline with high resonance starts working it’s magic. The beat drops off, then comes in suddenly much slower and way more intense! The pumping grooves and acid twitches make you move. You will not be able to resist this track!
‘Slow Stupid Song’ sounds like something out of a game in the Mother series… harmonic bell tones, a simple electro beat and sliding lead tones like mini ufos swooping down from the skies. Extra percussion is added, and after awhile the track just ends kind of abruptly.
Then ‘Summer Divine’ has a deep, whoosh of space pads and a breakbeat. A nice tonal bell sequence comes in, I believe I hear traces of vocal in the background mixing nicely with the pads. There’s definitely an AFX vibe, kind of like a salad of the Selected Ambient Works and Melodies From Mars eras. I love the deep but subtle reverb on the near-popcorn style sequence that hints at the hidden depths of space.
The final work is ‘Used To Be An Alien’, starting with soundtrack-like synth work and adding a chopped breakbeat. Very dark, melodic… not always totally harmonic, but better because of that fact. It’s a little later than 2AM in the world this track creates, but not by too much. There’s that energy, dark-tinged, throbbing, the pulse of the night-time.
More than anything, I suppose I would call this a very oldschool… well, oldschool now, but really circa late-’90s and early ’00s style electronic dance music a la early Warp Records. Definitely worth getting, I’d say, so here’s the link: