Liquid Stranger: The Invisible Conquest

Perhaps the thing that most separates The Invisible Conquest from many dubtronica albums is its robust character. While many of the genre's practitioners opt for an aromatic, laid-back—even somnambulant—vibe, Swedish-born Martin Staaf (aka one-half of the former Scandinavian techno-progressive project Necton) injects his deliriously trippy Liquid Stranger material with maximal energy. All of the familiar dub elements are in place—bass-heavy grooves, melodicas, gravelly voice punctuations, exotic flute melodies, skanky guitar lines, percussive accents, horns, spacey production treatments—but they're embedded in tracks that are wide-awake and fully alert. “Familiar And Unknown” charges like an army of rhinos while “Mutants (Sneaky And Adaptable Mix)” is so epic it could be described as trance-dub fusion. Beautiful bass lines both power and anchor hallucinatory tracks like “Drop Sacrifice” and “Cook N Curry,” and, neatly summing up the album's driving spirit, one track is even titled “Liquid Stranger On The Run.” The Invisible Conquest is definitely a solid dubtronica collection, notwithstanding the fact that it's admittedly overlong at seventy-four minutes.

January 2008