Clever: Offshore Presents Troubled Waters

Following a ceremonious overture of gong strikes, dizzying drum and bass beats determinedly uphold a frenetic pace for the remainder of Troubled Waters, an exuberant fifteen-track mix by Offshore Recordings founder DJ Clever. Fracture + Neptune's opening salvo “Normality Complex Parts 1 & 2” almost seems a manifesto for the release, with the tune largely stripping the genre to its core: feverish, breakneck beats and humungous bass lines, augmented by dark shadings of storms, bells, and bleeps. But while venomous beats do slam relentlessly throughout Seba's “Make My Way Home,” Paradox's “I Get a Kickback,” and ASC's “Drum Track 2 (The Venom...),” Clever's Offshore material adds a breezy dimension to the oft-dystopian ambiance of conventional drum and bass. In addition, tracks are distinguished by subtle touches, like the lurching stumble that's cleverly stitched into the otherwise fulminating pulse of Graphic's “1000,” the vocal hook that deepens the hypnotic impact of “Do You Voodoo?” by Deep Blue, and the cascading motif that sounds airlifted in from Morocco on Seba's blazing “In The Sun.” Further enhancing the album's appeal, all tracks were originally 12-inch releases with Troubled Waters collecting them onto CD for the first time. Kudos to Clever for helping revitalize an oft-maligned genre with an adventurously hyperkinetic escapade through the Offshore catalogue.

July 2005