Review: Zachary Gray – Montréal I/II

Label: Camomille Music
Catalog No: cml008

North of the border in Canada resides Zachary Gray. He has just released his debut album after years of studying music. This debut album is a smorgasbord of various genres and styles. Even within the same song he goes from Ambient to Drum ‘n’ Bass, stopping off to say hi to the IDM crowd. The cluster of genres is done well, but as a whole it makes the album lack consistency.

Montréal I/II demonstrates very good drum programming and sample usage. However, some of the songs, such as “Rooftops” and “Re:”, are not mixed well. The sounds don’t have their own pleasant niche in the music and wind up getting buried. Melodies are being drowned by oblique samples and drum beats are thumping away the possibility of hearing some of the delightful sounds presented before my ears. This only seems to afflict a few of the songs and it takes away some of the charm of those songs.

The use of samples throughout is a little overwhelming. They are taken from a variety of sources and some of the subject matter is a bit bizarre. From sex to fat children, it almost paints a morbid picture of the world we live in today. The only problem is they are mere statements and do not do much to enliven the listener except to “be a good person.” This release is very Boards of Canada inspired sample-based dance music. There are a few gems that are very well done but the remixes at the end should have been left off.

Standout track: Valentine’s Day
Rating: 3.5 stars

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