Written by Gordon Stribling. Saturday, June 6, 2009
Artist albums can be a bit tricky to pull off for those more used to writing club-orientated dance tracks. Some producers will try the eclectic approach, mixing their familiar sound with more creative efforts, whereas others will just play it safe and keep within the confines of their chosen genre. After all, it works in the club at 11 o’clock on a Saturday night, so why not a Ford Mondeo at 7.30 on a Tuesday morning?
Liverpudlian producer Yousef’s approach seems to fit somewhere in the middle. His debut album, A Collection of Scars and Situations is most definitely a dance album. There are no embarrassing collaborations with pop stars or half-arsed attempts at genres you wouldn’t associate him with. Nevertheless, A Collection of Scars is as broad as you’d expect from a DJ who’s had his finger in many a dance music pie.
The album opens with ‘Wig’, a dirty, techy number that’s as suited to the record box of Carl Cox as that of Dutch trance hero Sander van Doorn. This sets the president for much that follows. Indeed, it is the harder-edged tracks that truly demonstrate Yousef’s production skills.
‘Birthday Thoughts’ is an especially fine effort. With a slow, plodding beat and moody atmosphere, the track is reminiscent of breaks pioneers Hybrid in both style and quality. Intense techno monster ‘Equilibrium’ continues on the same dark path, building percussion and warbling feedback into one frenzied drop.
However, amongst the gems there are a few tracks that could have done with a bit more, or less, studio time. ‘Anti Hero’ in particular feels a bit like a concept track, if there is such a thing. The piano that accompanies the strings, vocal sample and tribal drum loop patters around a little too frenetically, turning an otherwise passable tune into musical overkill.
Overall, A Collection of Scars is a decent attempt at tackling the dance music artist album. Although the structure is a bit all over the place and some of the tracks seem a little overdone, there’s more than enough here to warrant parting with your pennies.