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ARTIST
TITLE
Brownout
FORMAT
CD

LABEL
CATALOG #
SCH 018CD SCH 018CD
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
9/19/2001

Long awaited full length from the Miami duo of Josh Kay and Romulo Del Castillo (previous EPs on Warp & Schematic). "It's a long-held belief that all music emanating from Miami can, sooner or later, be reduced to a simple connection with early 2 Live Crew, MC Ade, Pretty Tony, Dynamix II, and other pioneering Bass artists. There is nothing wrong with the comparison. Those prescient records made possible a generation of electronic music. However, the anxiety of influence often leads to such hasty and over-simplified conclusions. Which means that a great many people who hear Phoenecia's Brownout album are going to be puzzled. Obviously the title refers to a period when power stations reach a period of critical demand and electrical devices run at a slower rate and street lights covering the Southern Florida freeways are lit by what look like 40-watt bulbs. The record's name is telling, because it is Phoenecia's decisive break with their past. And that can be heard in the slow, contemplative way in which the record moves, almost as if it were being powered by a 40-watt generator itself. And, most surprisingly, the textures and shapes of Brownout have a far greater affinity for classic 70s roots dub than with the Roland Corporation's range of standard techno equipment, the 303, 606, 808, and 909. But that dub influence is immensely subtle. It's not of the Chain Reaction / Maurizio / Pole variety. Jazz drummer Max Roach once asked whether the beat lies in the drum strikes or between them. This album is an electronic dub record where the dub implements are put to use in between the beat. They slip into the cracks, peer around, then disappear again. References to and the sounds of the sea in Western art go at least as far back as Heraclitus, but here the listener gets a keen sense of slowly moving towards the ocean floor on the Mariana trench, the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean. The metallic baffles sound like a submarine emitting a faint sonar pulse at 200 fathoms and the yawning gaps suggest a depthlessness that is almost inhuman. But this is not cold, lifeless, machine music. It draws the listener into a vast sound chamber where certain features remain constant, but others are restlessly shifting and squirming, like sea creatures. Brownout is, without doubt, Phoenecia's magnum opus, the place where the ideas found in the preceding records are allowed to come to full fruition." --Tim Haslett