REVIEW Various Artists ‘Outbound 2’ [Lossless]

Outbound 2′, is a collaboration of multi-national artists, who independently and/or in joint projects illustrate a saga of destruction and construction, insurrection and reconciliation through six tracks. By providing their interpretation of controlled chaos through rhythmical electronic soundscapes, the cultural artistic potpourri allow themselves and their defenses to play in this fictional microcosm where ataxia and harmony not only coexist, but co-depend until an acceptable balance is achieved. Widely played by esteemed DJs, Dixon and Ame to name a few, these six sensory-agitators also multi-task as dancefloor igniters. Even without gruff bass and overdramatic drops, these tracks still stimulate plenty of graceful writhing and undulation inside dance clubs, festivals and hopefully less of, mobile cars, worldwide.

Listeners who embark on this 44-minute 11-second expedition should have little or no expectation of ordinance. Why allow a label named Lossless’ compilation named Outbound, inhabit and inhibit your aural-visual capabilities for nearly a hour, in the first place? Well, if you allow yourself to be unnerved and unsettled, it best be by a star-studded cast whose monikers and track titles themselves manifest a certain level of innovation and intellect.

Outbound 2‘ immediately (dis)places listeners in Internacional Electronical Rhythm’s ‘War of the Worlds’, a faint drumbeat, foreign murmuring, chafe away the boundaries of the duo’s make shift universe of discord. The gape widens with the addition of deeper drumbeat and percussion; and as wails and jangles, and roars and reverberations hem and haw, we are immersed in a chaotic spectrum within which forces, are yet unknown. Through the introduction of celestial sounds, and controlled dribbling of organic compounds, Schober and Deodato affirm that the war is of the worlds and not within them. The duo does not indulge in gross exaggeration of turmoil; there are no shocks and explosions, no bombs, and absolutely no nuclear weapons dropped in this pharaonic battle; but the tension builds up and packs its punch through a long, drawn out descend which is abruptly clinched by a simple pulse. The track leaves us, pandemonium within subsists.

Recovery from the post-war state of havoc occurs in the plush verdure of deep, heavy drumbeats which Mathias Schober unleashes with no reservations upon beginning the second track, ‘That Is When’. Schober realizes just when a certain level of comfortability and revival is reached and gradually moderates the drum beats as a gentle chant emerges in the distant background. A snappy and energetic groove, funky percussion takes over, guns and brakes to arouse and hone the chant into sharper synths. ‘That is When’ fades out through a natural extraction of the heavier sounds until it is reduced to simple claps, providing the levelness, consistency and restoration needed to carry on this outbound journey.

Neil Flynn, exposes his Irish roots by introducing ‘Shon’, third track in the compilation and common Gaelic boy name. Ironically meaning ‘god is gracious’, ‘Shon’ starts off cold with a heavy bass, unapproachable almost abrasive clankering and anxious percussion. The steady bassline rides right under shoulder length, almost too close to reverb the heartbeat. Flynn then incorporates a jittery rattling as he unveils Spanish vocals which coincidentally talk about matters of the heart. A venomous hiss emphasizes a very forceful snare drum progression; congealing the most pronounced climax of the compilation. A second of pure silence skydives into an elongated vibration; hi-hats come in full-force, friction takes matters in its own hands, the temperature rises and the track concludes at the peak of its infatuation with our adrenaline.

‘Outbound 2’ enters Love over Entropy’s Land Over Timewith restlessness: dense drum beats, coupled with steady snare, strident bass, and sounds of bird whistle colliding with micro doses of electronic synth at a distant. But it may not just be synth that the Dutch producer was injecting during the tense first minute; a sudden serotonin high hits Land Over Time with the irresistible takeover of an entrancing melody. Chirping birds revisit Land Over Time, this time in discernible motion, in rhythm with a full-body tango, heart included, soul may be. The track concludes with the weakened cadence, a reintroduction of heavier bass, however more benign. A coup d’etat is emerging; entropy is challenged by love, and time serenaded by land.

The transatlantic love affair between Frenchman Anthony George Patrice and Flynn’s countryman, Wayne Duggan, gave birth to the audacious Guinney, a common Irish surname. Bunus (also known as the 2.548 mi² commune of 144 inhabitants Pyrenees-Atlantique department in France for the geographically curious, by the way) starts off with a steady bassline composed of tedious drum beats and ordinary digital clinks. It then gains coarseness with the addition of warm percussion. Organ sounds, nervous electronica, a high pitch incantation emerge and altogether amass traction. And with a downpour of compressed synth, the track climaxes. Tempo increases, pulsations clash with electronic dribbling, a thorough and intricate crescendo falls into the sympathetic arms of an uplifting melody. The duo then tempers the pulse; tames the percussion and the track loses itself in its own melodic trance.

Lossless leaves it to Portuguese wonder-boy Bruno Deodato, on his second appearance, to conclude the compilation with a ‘Return to Order‘. Now back to his solo act, at home on his own moniker, Trikk draws on his mastery of complex synth techniques and new-wave influenced sound patterns to furnish some sense of closure. From the get go, Return to Order establishes a charismatic tone through a groovy drum beat that utilizes multiple components of the drums in a balanced and harmonious manner. Trikk grasps onto this balance and pronounces its cohesion to lure listeners into a focal point while he cultivates another sphere of multi-dimensional sounds right in its underbelly. Trikk maximizes the full potential of the dub style to pack his sound patterns with density and substance, as well as to deepen their intrusion into the listeners’ psyche. The play on echo, reverberation, space and volume in this track is superb, and Trikk does not by any means, choose the easy way out. By stretching the boundaries of sounds further than as customary, he expands their internal space and frees up some breathing room for loops and ricochet. In an attempt to Return to Order the soothing melody which will ultimately drive the track home, will draw on Trikk’s well balanced vibrations to navigate its course.

After encountering five tracks that associate with some sort of displacement/discord, it may be customary to feel relief upon a ‘return to order’. However aptly complemented by a relatively low BPM and a key signature commonly used in classical music to express tragedy and melancholia (G Minor), Return to Order elicits some sort of dejection with the idea of control, and a feeling of loss and longing for discomposure and/or unease. The six artists had artfully curated this journey through a compelling and pleasant frolic and play with diverse synthetic and organic sounds, With nuance manipulation of volume, echo, pitch and reverb, they have succeeded in creating a multi-dimensional terrene, adding shape and depth not only to the landscape, but the sensations and emotions each track conjures from our conscious and subconscious. All six gems have elements of surrendering to the outbound, and demonstrate vulnerability, but ultimately come together in their own ways, and collectively, alter or at least complicate and convolute, our perceptions of loss and control.

Outbound 2’ was released September 1st, 2017 on Lossless. (Marie J Floro)