The thing that people tend to like about drum & bass is how sneakily it keeps
you on the dance floor. It is, after all, just a little too fast for
comfort, but somehow it coerces you into staying on for just one more. The
thing that rock critics at least American ones like about drum &
bass is, naturally, completely different. They embraced the form as something
more than just club music after Roni Size's New Forms won the Mercury
Prize in the U.K. Here was dance music that wasn't just repetitive bleeps and
beats with diva melodies thrown on top. There was something really involving
about Size's jazz hybrid, and later with Photek's "X Files"-worthy
paranoia-grooves. Even now, Breakbeat Era another Size-masterminded
project is wowing listeners with their dark drum & bass songs and a
blistering live show.
Aphrodite, on the other hand, would rather light a candle than curse the
darkness. A DJ since 1988, Gavin King, a.k.a. Aphrodite, practices a more
dance-floor-friendly version of the subgenre, and on his debut LP which
mixes some familiar 12-inch tracks with new material he's out to make a
name for himself as the good-time drum & bassist.
Indeed, he's even sometimes known as the Fatboy Slim of drum & bass,
presumably because his work is fast, energetic and essentially substanceless,
beats and bleeps piled high. On the dance floor it's likely a heady brew, lots
of quick change-ups and simple refrains over frenetic drumlines. But on disc,
even turned up ear-blisteringly high on your headphones, it's somewhat less
There are surprising touches here and there, like a clever reuse of a
familiar riff from "For the Love of Money" on "B.M. Funkster." Aphrodite
gives Quincy Jones' "Summer in the City" another once-over you
might remember it from a Pharcyde tune on "Rincing Quince (slider
excerpt). Throw in some Jungle Brothers samples (on "Woman that
excerpt]) or something like a cover of Seals and Croft's "Summer
excerpt), and you got yourself a party.
The great thing about a party, though, is that there's usually something to do
other than just listen to the music. Aphrodite's debut won't do much more than
hold people to the dance floor, but it does that capably and energetically.
Without the distraction of people dancing around you, though, it probably
won't hold your attention.