Saroos: Saroos
Alien Transistor

Though created by Christoph Brandner (Lali Puna) and Florian Zimmer (Jersey, Iso68) with help from friends like Saam Schlamminger (Chronomad), Max Punktezahl (Jersey, Contriva, The Notwist), and Volker Zander (Calexico), Saroos's self-titled album could pass for an Alias project, specifically a collection of hip-hop-flavoured backing tracks produced purposefully by the Anticon beatmeister for MCs to rhyme over. Critical mention likely will be made of the fact that Saroos appears on Alien Transistor which previously issued the 13 & God disc Men of Station but, though that disc brought together members of The Notwist and Anticon, Saroos's smoked vibe and loping grooves place it more solidly within the Anticon universe.

There's a homogenous quality to Saroos's sound but it's not so strong that individuating touches don't emerge, like the instantly recognizable tablas from Miles's On the Corner that show up in “This Ain't No Place” and the voice samples that lend atmosphere and texture throughout. In addition, cymbal-drenched breaks in “Videos & Vehicles” and “All We See” kick up some serious dust while a folk-styled creak transports “Troubled Sleep” to the countryside. Ultimately, though, while Saroos is certainly a solidly-crafted collection, it's also one that sometimes sounds a bit too much like backing tracks. When Alias unleashes verbal fire in “During This Course,” the album's sole vocal number only accentuates how much the instrumental tracks would benefit from the addition of something equally arresting.

November 2006