Erast: Goodair + Minimissing
Laboratory Instinct

On Goodair, Erast (Nika Machaidze from Tbilisi, Georgia) injects remarkable new life into jungle and drill'n'bass genres by first crafting elegant compositional structures and then devising natural ways to weave incredible beat constructions into them. A case in point is “Argentina” whose stunning drum patterns never overpower the acoustic guitars and strings that imbue the track with Erast's customary exotic, melancholy feel. Deft programming skills are showcased by the frenetic, clattering breakbeats in “Masa” but again they're there to serve the composition. Maintaining the breathless pace to the end, Simon Pyke's Freeform “Goodair” remix adds some African-flavoured buoyancy to the original's dancing string patterns.

Machaidze follows Goodair with the similarly-formatted Minimissing: five originals plus a concluding remix, in this case by Atom™ (Uwe Schmidt) whose “Georgianintokyo” flits wildly through episodes of click-house funk, wah-wah hardcore, and Latin cha-cha. Compared to Goodair, Minimissing eases up on the jungle treatments but retains Erast's propensity for rich arrangements and intricate compositional structures that are often breathtaking in their complexity. “Georgianintokyo” begins with electro-funk drum patterns and then overlays alternating sequences of rapid-fire strings and guitars. “Movie I'll Never Shoot” is even denser, with querulous synth melodies interwoven with ringing cymbals and hyperactive drill'n'bass breaks. The only misstep is “Poema,” an experimental but unmemorable collage, but it's more than atoned for by the glistening harp patterns of “Minimissing 5.” By merging elegant, melancholy Georgian melodies with incredible beat constructions, Erast adds a fresh and unique twist to the drum & bass genre.

June 2004