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Alex Smoke Incommunicado Review

Album. Released 2005.  

BBC Review

Having made a name for himself on the underground electronic circuit thanks to a brace...

Lewis Dene 2005

Having made a name for himself on the undergroundcircuit thanks to acclaimed remixes in 2004 for Funk D'Void ("Way Up High") and Envoy ("Move On"), Soma were suitably impressed to sign Alex Smoke and "Chica Wappa". His accomplished, melancholic debut of minimal and ethereal, techno music quickly followed.

At times his sound is reminiscent of the groundbreaking (and still highly relevant) Thee Maddkatt Courtship releases, one of the more consistent pseudonyms from Chicago producer Felix Da Housecat.

"Lost In Sound" in particular sounds like it would have found a home on his Radical Fear label a decade ago had Smoke not been in school singing for the Durham Cathedral Choir at the time!

Although a largely instrumental collection, Smoke does make the odd vocal contribution not surprisingly a world apart from his chorister background. The deep and shimmering "Don't See The Point", I'm told, contains a pertinent social commentary; unfortunately there's so many vocal effects added that it's almost impossible to hear this for ourselves.

Other highs include aptly named "6am" a lazy instrumental built around enveloping guitar motifs and singular piano chords that suck you in until the track's climax. While the oddly named and even more disturbing sounding, "Brian's Lung", has old school rave undertones underpinning the foundation in much the same way Mike Dearborn did for Djax.

Alex Smoke's fan base is an ever expanding one, and one that not only includes the specialist press, but a fair few of his peers too. It's clear to hear why on this highly effective debut that's deep at times, techy at others, abstract in the main, yet made with a maturity that reassures the next generation of producers that he's man enough for the challenge.

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