Roni Size Touching Down
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Bill Laswell

Roni Size has always managed to set himself as a force in the genre of Drum & Bass, providing some solid albums that prove to both be interesting and fun to listen to. His new effort, Touching Down, is a full-fledged Drum & Bass clinic, with each track pounding at a furious pace. With every track managing to flow into each other with little to no pause, the lengthy 16 track album can prove to be exhausting.

Touching Down is composed electronically - a cacophony of samples, loops and electronic beats and basslines. Unlike some of Roni Size's work with Reprazent, there isn't as much Jazz and R&B influence in his tracks, so the pace tends to be a lot faster in nature. The opening track, Sound Advice, sets a firm tone as it starts with a harp intro that jumps right into a wonderfully sculpted beat. Near the end of the track, it switches into a heavy-handed bass-fest that drives home the intensity of the rest of the album.

While the beats remain fairly similar pace and structure, the accompanying music does vary from track to track. Playtime opens in a lull of keyboards that works into the flow of the rhythm. At the Movies provides a low-key into that manages to keep a low profile throughout the whole of the track. Vocada Funk throws a nice curve as the track has a crazy pace with tones all over the place. The heavy-ended keyboards of Feel the Heat help issue in the powerful pace.

While the untrained ear may hear a lot of similar beats, what sets each track apart is the synthesized, patterned and looped music that Roni Size has sculpted for each track. Outside of the familiar Drum & Bass formula, each song has a music tone all its own that does a good job at setting up a sense of individuality.

Casual listeners may find the similarity of beat throughout the whole of Touching Down to be a little wearisome, especially with the steady, upbeat pace that it runs at. Drum & Bass fans, on the other hand, should eat this album up. Once again, Roni Size delivers the goods. While I may have wanted something a little more varied like New Forms, Touching Down will still do good in a pinch.

- - Vane

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